Steve Sadove and Ron Frasch Leaving Saks

by Harry Sheff

Stephen SadoveSaks Inc. announced that CEO Steve Sadove (pictured at left) and chief merchant Ron Frasch are leaving the company in the wake of the luxury retailer’s acquisition by Hudson’s Bay Company.

“Steve and Ron have been a great team over the last nine years,” Donald Hess of the Saks board of directors said in a statement. “Together, they have created an exceptional management team, a special company culture, and a distinct fashion point of view. Through their leadership, the whole is truly so much greater than the sum of the parts.”

In a joint statement, Sadove and Frasch said, “Saks has a great team, and working together, we have all accomplished so much over the last several years. We have developed and executed focused merchandising, marketing and service strategies. We survived the recession and emerged a stronger, more disciplined organization. We have continued to modernize the Saks brand and elevate and differentiate our merchandise assortments. Our marketing efforts have become even more strategic and targeted, and our brand and image marketing is among the best in the industry. We have elevated our service levels and demonstrated our commitment to giving and to our communities through our very special charity affiliations. We have strengthened our balance sheet and improved our real estate. We have built a powerful business and transformed Saks Off 5th into an aggressive growth story. And, through key technology enhancements, innovative thinking and collaboration, our evolution to an omni-channel retailer has been a game changer.”

Sadove joined Saks Inc. in 2002 as vice chairman and was made chief operating officer in 2004. He became CEO in 2006 and added chairman to his title a year later. He’s been on the board since the days of Saks Holdings in 1996. Before Saks, Sadove’s career was in the consumer products business, with companies like General Foods USA, followed by Clairol and its parent company Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Frasch joined Saks in 2004 and was named president and chief merchandising officer in 2007. He came to Saks from Bergdorf Goodman where he was CEO from 2000 to 2004. He has also served as president of GFT USA and CEO of Escada USA. He was a DMM early in his career before spending 10 years at Neiman Marcus.

The New York Post is reporting that the top contender for Ron Frasch’s position of chief merchant is Marigay McKee of Harrod’s in London. Both Draper’s and WWD are reporting that McKee has been chosen and will start in November or December. Other executives in the running, said the Post, were Jim Gold of Neiman Marcus, Tony Spring of Bloomingdale’s and Brendan Hoffman of Bon-Ton.

Hudson’s Bay Company is acquiring Saks Inc for $2.9 billion ($16 per share). The deal is expected to close by the end of the year. Saks Inc. operates 41 Saks Fifth Avenue stores and 69 Saks Of 5th stores.