Neiman Marcus Pumps Up Senior Ranks

Neiman Marcus Group, continuing to reshape and pump up management, has named Nabil Aliffi as chief brand officer and has promoted Stefanie Tsen Ward to chief retail officer.

Both are newly created roles that report to Ryan Ross, president of the Neiman Marcus brand.

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The new roles are geared to accelerate NMG’s growth and transformation, which centers on strengthening omnichannel capabilities, including digital sales, remote selling and creating tighter bonds, exclusives and new, more compelling experiences with designers and brands. The company, through its partnership with Farfetch, is also planning to launch internationally this year.

As the business accelerates, so does the speculation that the Neiman Marcus Group wants to one day initiate an initial public offering. NMG is privately held by Davidson Kempner Capital Management, Sixth Street Partners and Pacific Investment Management Co. Eventually, the group of owners will want to cash in on their investment, though currently, the market for IPOs is not strong. If not a public offering, there could be an attempt to sell the business to another retailer or a private equity firm, and a bolstered management team would help to market the company for a sale.

In his statement Monday on the executive changes, Ross said that Neiman Marcus has already achieved “tremendous transformation.”

Among the recent management changes, Ross joined Neiman Marcus in August, and Katie Anderson became executive vice president and chief financial officer in April 2022.

As chief brand officer, Aliffi becomes “the creative force” for the Neiman Marcus brand, charged with “elevating its customer touchpoints and bringing a cohesive voice,” across selling channels, the company said.

Aliffi was previously global chief creative officer of Soho House & Co, responsible for leading the creative vision, services and digital membership offering. He also held leadership positions at Selfridges and Urban Outfitters after cofounding Vulture Magazine.

“Nabil is a creative visionary who brings a unique perspective in making Neiman Marcus a luxury lifestyle destination,” Ross said. “He knows our customer and how to create a platform for loyal engagement across channels.”

As chief retail officer, Tsen Ward becomes responsible for elevating the 36 Neiman Marcus stores, and will be working with Aliffi. She will continue to accelerate the company’s integrated retail strategy, and help enable Neiman’s more than 3,500 selling associates provide the best possible service they can.

Tsen Ward has played a key role in innovating the customer experience at Neiman Marcus. She was most recently Neiman’s senior vice president, interim head of stores. She joined the Dallas-based retailer in 2018 after having served in omnichannel roles at various retailers. The company said her leadership contributed to 70 percent of NMG stores in FY22 reaching their highest revenue in more than a decade.

“Stefanie was instrumental in leading the development of our remote selling capabilities, powered by our proprietary Connect technology,” Ross explained. “She creates unequivocal, customer-centric retail experiences and inspires our selling associates to engage in new and innovative ways.”

These appointments are made as the company continues to make strategic investments in technology, stores and supply chain. The luxury retailer has committed to making a $200 million strategic investment in stores over three years, about half of which will come from landlords.

NMG, in its fiscal year which concluded July 31, generated $5 billion in gross merchandise value sales, an 11 percent earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization margin rate, and $495 million in adjusted EBITDA. For the first quarter of the current fiscal year, NMG experienced a 6 percent comp gain in GMV sales. Gross merchandise value refers to all the merchandise sold through NMG stores and websites, owned, on commission and through consignment. The company does not disclose net profits.

NMG’s positive report on the state of its business comes despite other industry reports that the luxury sector is slowing in some cases amid the uncertain outlook on the economy and a stock market that last year lost some value.

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