by Karen Alberg Grossman

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.”

For those so inclined, a contribution to Habitat for Humanity or the Barrington Stage Company would be a fitting tribute to this wonderful man who lived life with passion and compassion.


  1. Rest In Peace my Brother 🙏 on this Ash Wednesday… 😢 You may be gone, but you’ll never be forgotten… ♥️

  2. I’m very sorry to hear about this. I knew Michael very well when he was at Saks, and I was at GFT. We did a lot of business together. We traveled to Turin to work collections early with his team. He was a great merchant, incredibly intelligent and an all around good person. RIP Michael 🙏

  3. Michael was a dear friend for over 44 years. I’ll never forget how we first met, dining together with wives, with our mentor & dear friend, Philip Miller, in celebration of joining Lord & Taylor, just as we were about to begin our new jobs there. We worked together directly again at Marshall- Field’s to 7 years. We met up next at Sak’s Fifth Avenue, where we again shared tough times & wonderful laughs along the way. We were always sharing stories, laughing at times until we couldn’t catch out breath, while having fun & working hard.
    Through the years, we also shared several family occasions together, with with & without our kids for landmark Birthdays, etc. He was a dedicated Dad & husband.
    A lover of life, good times & country, he was a great & passionate guy, who will be missed. Nothing seemed impossible when he was around. Our planet needs more like him. I will miss him terribly.

  4. Michael Zaccaro was a force of nature. He was dedicated to his family who he dearly loved. He was an extraordinary business colleague whose leadership inspired all of us who worked over so many years with him. His contributions to the businesses he was associated with and to his industry were immense and commanded the greatest respect of his associates. Michael also had a great zest for life which he shared with his big heart and wonderful sense of’ humor with his family and multitude of friends. He will be sorely missed by all of us who were privileged to know him.

  5. i’m in shock hearing about Michael’s passing . Living in the same area of Williamsburg Brooklyn as kids we were together all the time with family and friends … attending many wonderful occasions as adults and also some very sad moments in our lives with family
    and friends who have passed … Rest easy my friend ..I will never forget you 🙏 Cherly my heart is broken for you and your son.

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