by Stephen Garner

bon-tonDepartment store chain The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. has announced that Kathryn Bufano, president and chief executive officer, has resigned from the company effective August 25, upon expiration of her contract. William Tracy, the company’s current chief operating officer, will be named president and chief executive officer, effective August 25. Bufano will remain with the company as CEO through a transition period to ensure an orderly and effective leadership transition.

Tracy has served as chief operating officer of the company since July 2015.  He previously held various management positions at Hudson’s Bay Company, including executive vice president of Supply Chain, Logistics & Omni Channel Fulfillment, and Global Sourcing, and prior to that executive vice president of Supply Chain, Omni Channel Fulfillment & Information Services. Tracy previously held the position of chief operating officer at both Fortunoff Brands LLC and Nine West Corporation, and has also served in various senior leadership positions at Lord & Taylor and Abraham & Straus Department Stores.

“I am very pleased to announce Bill’s promotion to president and CEO,” said Tim Grumbacher, Chairman of the Board. “Bill is a proven leader with more than 40 years of retail experience in the areas of operations, supply chain management and logistics for national department stores.  We are confident that Bill will be a successful leader based on his in-depth knowledge of the retail industry, his operational expertise and his understanding of the Bon-Ton business.  We look forward to working with Bill as we continue to drive forward on our strategic initiatives and position the brand for long term success.”

“I am excited about the opportunity to lead Bon-Ton and appreciate the Board’s confidence and support during this transition,” added Tracy. “We have a strong team in place that has worked diligently over the recent years to strengthen Bon-Ton’s competitive position within the industry, despite the difficult retail environment.  I am proud of the progress that we have made thus far and see opportunities to build on the strategic initiatives we have in place.  I look forward to continuing to work with the entire team to drive Bon-Ton forward as we execute our strategies to improve the business and enhance shareholder value for the long term.”

The company has also announced that Chad Stauffer, one of the company’s current general merchandise managers, has been named EVP, chief merchandising officer reporting to the chief executive officer.  In this role, Stauffer will be responsible for leading the company’s merchandising strategy.

Stauffer has spent over nine years at Bon-Ton, most recently serving as senior vice president and general merchandise manager of Center Core and Children’s.  He was previously SVP/GMM of Men’s, Children’s and Home, and prior to that Group VP of Private Brand Strategic Planning and Product Development for Men’s and Children’s for the company.  Stauffer previously worked at Belk Department stores as vice president and divisional merchandise manager of Home Store, and prior to that, as vice president and divisional merchandise manager of Children’s Apparel, Accessories & Toys. He has also held positions on the merchandise teams at Sports Authority, Kohl’s, J.C. Penney, and May Department Stores.

“Chad brings great insight and experience to his new role, with a long track record of success in merchandising,” added Grumbacher. “We look forward to his contributions as he leads the team to ensure that Bon-Ton continues to have a differentiated and compelling merchandise offering that closely aligns with the shopping needs of our customers.”