The Federated board is set to meet Thursday, when the subject of succession is expected to be on the table, according to sources. A final decision on Lundgren could be made then, and some believe that an announcement on the new top gun could come within the week or not long after.
Lundgren has been steadily gaining authority as Federated’s second-in-command, reporting to James Zimmerman, chairman and chief executive officer, as part of a succession plan.
Lundgren and a handful of other senior officials have been identified by the company for increasingly important roles. Federated seems to be moving into more of a triumvirate management structure, which would be led by Lundgren, who would be backed by Susan Kronick, group president, and Tom Cole, chairman of the Federated logistics, operations, store planning and systems division. The roles of Cole and Kronick could be pumped up further, once Lundgren gets the official nod.
The two longtime Federated executives have been reporting to Lundgren.
Since Federated promoted Kronick to group president supervising Burdines, as well as two other regional operations, The Bon and Rich’s/Lazarus/Goldsmith’s in February 2001, there has been speculation about the succession plan, that Lundgren would one day take over for Zimmerman, and that Kronick, who is would step up to president. That would create a more traditional management team, headed by Lundgren, a merchant, and putting Kronick, whose background is principally in operations, second. Zimmerman is primarily a financial and operations executive.
Other key executives include Ron Tysoe, vice chairman, and Janet Grove, chairman and ceo of Federated Merchandising Group.
It is also possible that Zimmerman, while relinquishing the ceo title, could continue as chairman. His contract last year was extended to go through at least February 2004.
Last April, Lundgren, who is 51, took on the chief operating officer role, in addition to his role as president and chief merchandising officer, and has long been viewed as the primary candidate to succeed Zimmerman, who is 59.