Thrusday, January 07, 1999

Chairman of Lazarus group resigns


Stravitz headed Federated division

BY LISA BIANK FASIG
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The chairman of the Rich's/Lazarus/Goldsmith's division of Federated Department Stores said Wednesday that he is resigning, ending a 30-year career that culminated with the consolidation of Lazarus into the other chains.

        Russell Stravitz, 50, who Federated appointed as chairman of the division in 1993, will be succeeded by Arnold Orlick, president and chief operating officer of the near 75-store chain. Mr. Stravitz will step down Jan. 22 and take time off “to assess future career options,” according to a Federated statement.

        Mr. Orlick, 52, will be succeeded by Federated newcomer Edwin Holman, chief executive of Petrie Retail Inc., based in New Jersey. Mr. Holman also is 52.

        As the new chairman, Mr. Orlick said his key goal will be improving assortment, value, merchandising and service at the division. The main issue is getting shoppers in the stores without running sales, he said.

        “It's very important for us to get better at that,” he said.

        The move is not expected to affect operations at Cincinnati-area stores, which are managed regionally. Jeff Stinson, an analyst who covers Federated for Midwest Research Maxus Group, said the chain's management is deep enough that losing one executive won't significantly impact the whole organization.

        Mr. Orlick said Cincinnati is one of the division's best growth markets. “We're excited that the customer has embraced us, particularly in the past six months.”

        Mr. Stravitz has been at the Atlanta store division since 1991, but his biggest challenge has been consolidating the Lazarus, Rich's and Gold smith's chains since 1995. That was the year that Federated relocated its Lazarus division from Cincinnati to Atlanta.

        The consolidation included merging two cultures and separate operating systems and aligning three chains of stores.

        “It wasn't an easy job, no question about it,” said Kurt Barnard, publisher of Barnard's Retail Trends Report.

        Federated also announced the appointments of Ron Klein, 49, to chairman and chief executive of Stern's, and Peter Sachse, 40, to vice chairman and director of stores at Macy's East. Mr. Klein suceeds Matthew Serra, who left in September. Mr. Sachse succeeds Mr. Klein.

       



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