Saks’ New Tact
By George Anderson
Brad Martin, the CEO of Saks Inc., is stepping down and his hand-picked successor is likely to jettison what is left of the department store chain’s middle-tier business to concentrate on its luxury brands.
Mr. Martin will be replaced by Stephen Sadove, a marketing executive whom the New York Post described as a “nice guy” with the ability to unite a company that has seen its fair share of infighting.
Mr. Sadove’s move up spells the end of Saks Fifth Avenue CEO Fred Wilson’s tenure at the company. Mr. Wilson was criticized for being a divisive influence within the company.
According to a Post report, Mr. Sadove called a meeting of Saks executives back in 2003 after Mr. Wilson had come on. “He really got people to open up,” according to an unnamed source. “Before that, people had been afraid to say anything.”
Sadove’s previous experience before joining Saks Inc. includes marketing stints at General Foods and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
“Steve is not a merchant, but because he’s a marketer, he understands brand positioning,” said another unnamed source.
Moderator’s Comment: Is Stephen Sadove the right person to lead Saks? What will he and his team need to do to turn the company around? –
George Anderson – Moderator