The National Retail Federation on Wednesday announced that Macy’s former CEO and current Executive Chairman Terry Lundgren was elected chairman of the NRF board of directors.
He replaces former HSNi CEO Mindy Grossman, who resigned after leaving retail behind to head Weight Watchers earlier this year, according to a press release from the organization.
Four new board members have also been elected. They are Sam’s Club President and CEO John Furner; QVC Inc. President and CEO Mike George; Total Wine and More CEO Adam Orvos; and PETCO CEO Brad Weston.
National Retail Federation officials are in Washington for the organization’s summer meeting, an effort in part to get in touch with members of Congress and their staffs on the issues that are top of mind.
President Donald Trump is not the biggest Lundgren fan and was apparently miffed when Macy’s two years ago dropped his clothing line after he made disparaging remarks about immigrants from Mexico during his presidential announcement speech. Trump later singled out the Macy’s then-CEO as an overpaid executive.
Lundgren is an industry veteran, of course, who led a department store that is famous for having deep talent but that has struggled mightily in recent years. He spearheaded the massive expansion in the early 21st century that the retailer is now in the midst of correcting.
“As the retail industry continues to evolve at a rapid pace to meet the demands of consumers, we are excited to bring in new board members who are on the front lines of this transformation,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. “These new directors represent the breadth of this diverse industry. They will provide invaluable insight and leadership not only on the future of retail but also NRF’s role in advocating for retailers of all sizes in Washington. As chairman, Terry is an industry veteran who will provide sound guidance in all aspects of our mission to serve as the voice of the retail industry.”
But the choice also reflects a certain adherence to legacy retail, which is in the midst of a major realignment involving shifting consumer priorities and technology-led changes in consumer behavior, perceptions, marketing and supply chain.
"I just finished ... in-depth interviews with top retail industry executives for the annual ULI/PWC real estate survey," Nick Egelanian, president of retail development consultants SiteWorks International, told Retail Dive in an email. "And if there were any common themes, two were that we are in a time of tremendous change in retail — and that department stores have completely failed to evolve in the last 30 years as the industry contracted from sales dominance, measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars annually, to total annual sales measuring less than half the annual volume of Costco today. Lundgren presided over the decimation of Macy's, and I cannot think of a worse choice for the position of chairman of the NRF."