Questrom’s Next Stop: Wal-Mart

by MR Magazine Staff

NEW YORK – Allen Questrom, the man who helped revive J.C. Penney and brought back Federated Department Stores and Barneys New York from bankruptcy, is slated to join the board of directors of a company that’s larger than those stores put together.

Questrom, 67, has been nominated to join the board of directors of Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores as an independent director. He will stand for election at the retailer’s annual meeting to be held June 1 at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Wal-Mart’s definitive proxy statement lists Questrom as a partner with Lee Equity Partners and says he is a member of the board of Burt’s Bees, Sotheby’s and Jones Apparel Group, the current owners of Barneys.

Considered the ultimate turnaround artist of the American retail landscape, Questrom guided Federated out of bankruptcy and orchestrated its merger with bankrupt R.H. Macy & Co during his seven-year stint as chairman and CEO of Federated, which concluded in 1997. He spent over a year with Barneys, helping to guide the specialty chain out of Chapter 11, before being named chairman and CEO of Penney’s in 2000. Before his December 2004 retirement, he was credited with helping to substantially elevate the store’s merchandising and marketing profile.

Wal-Mart’s bylaws require that a majority of its 15 directors be independent. If elected to the board, Questrom’s fellow directors will include two former CEOs of Wal-Mart, David Glass and Jack Shewmaker, as well as its current CEO, Lee Scott.