US retailer Neiman Marcus has appointed Ralph Lauren executive, Geoffroy van Raemdonck, as chief executive following the retirement of Karen Katz.

The company said Katz will retire as president and CEO on 12 February but will continue to serve on the board of directors and will work closely with van Raemdonck on the transition process.

The appointment, Neiman Marcus says, is part of a long-term leadership succession planning process to ensure “continued growth and evolution of the company”.

Van Raemdonck has served as group president for EMEA and global travel retail at Ralph Lauren since 2013, where he has led the transformation of all the group’s brands across full and off-price stores, wholesale and digital. Previously, he served as CEO at St. John Knits International, where he launched a turnaround of the American luxury house leading to significant performance improvements.

Prior to that, he held a variety of global leadership roles at Louis Vuitton from 2008 to 2013 and was most recently president for South Europe where he elevated brand perception and consumer experience in 22 countries and led a team of 1,200 employees across retail, marketing, PR, merchandising, supply chain, finance and HR.

“As CEO, Karen helped establish Neiman Marcus as a digital leader in luxury fashion and retail and put the company on a path for long-term growth,” said chairman David Kaplan. “We are extremely grateful for her vision and significant contributions, which have spanned over 30 years at the company, including the last seven as CEO, and look forward to continuing our work together on the board.”

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Kaplan welcomed Van Raemdonck to the company: “He is a global industry leader and business builder with exceptional vision and energy. The entire board is confident that Geoffroy’s leadership will add significant value to the company, our partners and our customers.”

In October, Neiman Marcus unveiled plans to roll out a new digital strategy on the back of growing online sales in the fourth quarter, and amid a modest narrowing of its net loss in the period. The upmarket chain has been struggling with a nearly $5bn debt load, and had been in talks last year over a potential merger with Canadian retailer Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), which were later terminated.  

Neiman Marcus unveils digital strategy, narrows Q4 loss