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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Work on the fifth floor for contemporary products is expected to be under way shortly, and the fourth floor for Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, J. Mendel and Valentino, among others, has completed phase one of a three-part renovation.

While some luxury vendors in Manhattan greeted Gold’s appointment with surprise and skepticism — all off the record, of course — others praised Tansky’s pick and are confident of Gold’s skills, especially given his longtime Neiman Marcus experience.

“He seems to be good at what he does,” said Robert Duffy, vice chairman of Marc Jacobs International. “I’ve worked well with him in the past and have talked to him about placement, advertising and business in general. I talked to my sales team this morning and they are quite fond of him, especially our senior vice president of sales, Leslie Clements. She was very enthusiastic about him. This should be good. Aside from our own stores, Bergdorf’s is our biggest store and important to our business.”

Michele Ateyeh, president and chief operating officer at Lambertson Truex, a key main floor accessories resource at Bergdorf’s, said: “To me, cosmetics seems to be such a major and important business for all retailers that once an executive has tackled this area successfully, it would make sense that he or she will have a very fast learning curve in terms of new businesses, especially coming out of the Neiman Marcus upscale philosophy.”

“Jim is one of the brightest new stars in retailing,” said Kay Baker, president of Sisley’s U.S. operations in Dallas. “He does not miss a trick. He has a fresh set of eyes for every business he comes to.”

Baker added that Gold “inspires people that work for him. He’s hands off. He is not a micro manager, but he is a big picture visionary. Jim’s probably the most well-liked executive at Neiman Marcus. He will do a fantastic job at Bergdorf’s. He really understands the specialty business.”

Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, global president at Estée Lauder Cos. who is in charge of the Lauder, MAC Cosmetics and Tommy Hilfiger divisions, said, “Jim is an intuitive leader. He has a great eye for product and merchandise, which are essential attributes.”
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