Going to the Inside Man: Neiman’s James Gold

The Neiman Marcus Group named James Gold, a relative unknown, to be president and chief executive officer of Bergdorf Goodman.

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Burt Tansky and James Gold

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NEW YORK — Bergdorf Goodman may be a $350 million luxury machine on a roll, but that doesn’t mean James Gold, its new president and chief executive officer, won’t have his work cut out for him.

On Monday, the Neiman Marcus Group Inc. promoted Gold from senior vice president and general merchandise manager for men’s wear and cosmetics at Neiman Marcus Stores, to run its Bergdorf’s division.

Sustaining the store’s momentum — sales in its second fiscal quarter ended Jan. 31 shot up 20.5 percent — and keeping its successful team in place will be no small feat. In addition, while Gold has been with Bergdorf’s sister division Neiman Marcus Stores for 13 years, and has a range of experience in operating and merchant roles, he still has a lot to learn. The divisions have little merchandise overlap, with estimates of roughly 25 percent, and different customer profiles.

It’s been speculated for months that Neiman’s would tap an insider. No search firm was ever hired to find a Bergdorf’s head, and it is the style of Burt Tansky, president and ceo of Neiman Marcus Group, to promote from inside. He’s brought other key executives up the ranks, including Karen Katz, president and ceo of Neiman Marcus Stores, and Brendan Hoffman, president and ceo of Neiman Marcus Direct.

During his tenure with Neiman’s, Gold has held such positions as vice president, divisional merchandise manager of designer sportswear and vice president, and director of the Last Call clearance stores. Gold, a 40-year-old native New Yorker, has an MBA from The Harvard Business School. He entered the training program of Bloomingdale’s after college and worked there as an assistant buyer and department manager before going on to business school.

Gold will report to Tansky, who is expected to give him much support. “Jim has been a key member of our team at the Neiman Marcus Stores division. His commitment to fashion leadership and innovative marketing has contributed significantly to our company’s success,” Tansky said in a statement. “I am confident that with Jim’s strong management skills, merchandising expertise and strategic insight, he will continue Bergdorf Goodman’s tradition of leadership in luxury retailing.”
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