MR magazine is deeply saddened to report the passing of retail exec Michael Zaccaro on February 22 after a valiant fight with cancer. He is survived by Cheryl, his wife of 47 years, their son Jeremy, and so many good friends and family accumulated and cherished since childhood. Michael and Cheryl lived in Boca Raton, Florida and Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Born in Brooklyn in 1946, Michael served in the U.S. Army and fought in Vietnam. His 40-year career in retailing began in 1968 as a buyer for Bloomingdale’s, where he helped launch the Canali brand in America. It was also at Bloomingdale’s that he met Cheryl, his beloved life partner and soulmate. She and their son Jeremy were the center of his world.
In addition to Bloomingdale’s, Michael held numerous top positions in the industry including SVP at Saks Fifth Avenue and Vice Chairman at Phillips Van Heusen. He was a wonderful friend to MR magazine, always willing to provide thoughtful insights into the business, always sharing strong opinions on industry issues. Michael was an instinctive merchant with a keen understanding of human nature and what drives consumer behavior. (For this, he once credited his mom for taking him as a kid on frequent shopping trips to Macys Herald Square; he joked about someday buying Macys’ rickety wooden escalator that he remembered so well from his childhood.) Most notably, Michael was a caring mentor to so many aspiring fashion execs, always going out of his way to help others succeed.
But retailing was not his only passion for Michael was a guy who truly appreciated life and gave back generously. As noted in his official obituary, “Michael was an avid runner, skier, golfer, and lover of fine scotch, esoteric gin and malodorous cigars, pursuits shared liberally with family and friends. Despite a demanding work schedule, Michael found time for philanthropic activities, amongst them Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. He also served actively on several Boards, including the Barrington Stage Company.”