Belk President and Chief Operating Officer Don Hendricks has been appointed interim chief executive officer effective Monday, the department store announced in a press release on Friday.
As Belk built its chain in the South for well over 100 years, its leadership remained with generations of Belks.
Private equity firm Sycamore Partners bought the department store for $3 billion in 2015, in a leveraged buyout that added a steep debt load to the company’s balance sheet. In 2016 the last family chief executive, Tim Belk, left the company.
Hendricks joined Belk that year as the COO, having held positions at Gymboree, Hot Topic and Torrid, including as chief information officer and COO, per Belk's release. Fellow Hot Topic alum Lisa Harper then became CEO, to be replaced last year by Patel.
Stores were added to Hendricks' responsibilities in 2019 and he was named president in 2020. In its release, Belk said that "Hendricks was instrumental in leading the company through the continued unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic and spearheaded the company's initiatives to enhance its omnichannel capabilities."
The company runs nearly 300 Belk stores in 16 Southeastern states, per its release.