Stein Mart Names New CEO

by MR Magazine Staff

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Stein Mart deparment store chain announced a new CEO today, shortly after Michael D. Fisher, who had held the office for four years, resigned. The board of directors named one of its own, Linda McFarland Farthing, to replace Fisher.

Stein Mart didn’t comment on the reason for Fisher’s departure in its statement, but board chairman Jay Stein said, “We appreciate Mike’s service to our Company over the last 14 years, and in particular, his leadership during the last four years.”

Stein Mart released its quarterly report last week with earnings down from $8.3 million last year to $2.2 million this year. Net sales were down 1.7 percent and same store sales were down 1.2 percent, with the company expecting further declines in the third quarter.

Farthing has been with the Stein Mart board of directors since 1999. She became the audit committee chair in 2003. She has served in executive positions at The Cato Corporation and Friedman’s, Inc.

“I am excited about the opportunity to help Stein Mart reach its full potential,” said Farthing in a statement. “This Company has a strong and profitable history, and a tremendous franchise of loyal customers. I look forward to a successful new chapter in that history, built on the Company’s demonstrated commitment to provide great fashions at compelling prices, in a way that creates value for customers, associates and shareholders.”

Farthing will start in late September, but Fisher’s resignation is effective immediately.

Stein Mart also announced two new mebers to its board: Ralph Alexander, a former CEO of Innovene, and Susan Falk, a group president for womenswear at Hartmarx.

Stein Mart has about 270 stores in 30 states.