by Karen Alberg Grossman

MR magazine is saddened to report the passing of Aldo Papone, a much-admired corporate exec at Macy’s, Dayton Hudson and American Express, who passed away on September 16th at his home in Greenwich Ct. Although I didn’t know him personally, he worked at Macy’s for 18 years with my dad Max Alberg, mostly in the menswear division during the 1960s and ‘70s. I grew up hearing his name and knowing how respected he was, as much for his charm and kindness as for his merchandising savvy and quintessential Italian sense of style.

According to his obituary as published in The New York Times, his was a life to be celebrated. “Born August 16, 1932 in Bordighera, Italy, Aldo was educated in Europe and earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Genoa. He immigrated to the United States in 1954 and became a buyer for a men’s boutique on Park Avenue called Barra of Italy, which is where he met the love of his life, Sandra.

“Aldo began a career with R.H. Macy & Co. in New York, where for 18 years he held several general merchandising, buying and store management posts. In 1971, he became Vice President and General Merchandising Manager and, subsequently, Senior Vice President, Merchandising.”

Neckwear veteran and former Macy’s exec Paul Weiss remembers Aldo fondly. “He was the Macy’s buyer for men’s accessories/gifts and when he got promoted, I was moved into that position. There were no official mentoring programs back then, but Aldo spent lots of time and effort checking in on me, giving me advice, making sure I was okay. I’ll always appreciate his willingness to reach out to a first-time buyer. He was highly intuitive, with a genuine passion for product. He exuded class and style. He never touched a polyester tie, although that’s what dominated Macy’s neckwear assortment at the time… He ultimately elevated the menswear mix at Macys to a more upscale level than it ever had been.”

Based largely on his reputation at Macy’s, Aldo was offered a key position at American Express, where he worked for 40 years. Bringing their advertising to world-class levels, he was ultimately named to the Advertising Hall of Fame. Although he retired from American Express in 1991 for health reasons, he served on their Board of Trustees for the next 25 years. His service on numerous other boards included the Hospital for Special Surgery where he was Co-Chairman for 14 years and Chairman Emeritus in 2016. In his later years, he also published two notable books, (now on my reading list): The Power of the Obvious and The Power of Reinvention.

Aldo is pre-deceased by his wife Sandra and survived by his loving daughter Renata, son-in-law Chris, beloved grandchildren Gregory and Alexandra. Those so inclined might consider donations to Hospital for Special Surgery, Development Department, 535 East 70th Street, New York 10021, in memory of Aldo Papone.