In a move that was largely expected, Stephen Sadove, chief executive officer of Saks Inc, has been named to take the additional title of chairman upon the retirement of R Brad Martin from that post on 4 May.

Martin will also give up his seat on Saks' board, the company said Thursday (19 April).

Martin has been chairman of the company for the past 20 years and served as its CEO from 1989 until Sadove was appointed to the post in January 2006.

"Steve Sadove was the right choice to become CEO and is the right choice for the chairman position as well," Martin said in a statement. "He and I have worked closely together, first as he served as a member of the board of directors of the company and then when he joined our management team in 2002.

"Steve is a proven leader and talented executive. I believe he is the best person to lead the management and board of Saks Inc. now that the streamlined company's focus is on Saks Fifth Avenue."

Martin's RBM Acquisitions vehicle bought Proffitt's Department Stores in 1984 and took the company public in 1987. Martin masterminded the acquisitions of Hess's (1992), McRae's (1994), Parisian and Younkers (1996) and Herberger's (1997). In 1998, after acquiring Carson Pirie Scott, and The Boston Store and Bergner's along with it, the company was merged with Saks Holdings.

In the last two years, virtually all operations but Saks Fifth Avenue have been sold off, with most of the northern stores going to Bon-Ton and most of those in the southern US being sold to Belk.

Sadove joined Saks as vice chairman in 2002 and added the role of chief operating officer in 2004, prior to his 2006 appointment as CEO. A director of Saks since 1998, his career has included executive roles with General Foods and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

In addition to the e-commerce site and the Club Libby Lu division, Saks operates 54 Saks Fifth Avenue stores and 49 Saks Off 5th units.
By Arnold J Karr.