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EXCLUSIVE: Ryan Ross Joining Neiman Marcus as President

Ryan Ross, former president of Williams Sonoma, will become president of Neiman Marcus on Aug. 15, WWD has learned.

It’s a new position at the luxury retailer, reshaping its top rungs and geared to accelerate growth of the business.

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Ross will report to Geoffroy van Raemdonck, the chief executive officer of the Neiman Marcus Group.

“Ryan is a values-driven leader with a proven track record of achieving rapid growth and optimizing customer-centric experiences,” van Raemdonck said in a statement Wednesday. “This new role represents the next step in our ‘Revolutionizing Luxury Experiences’ strategy, and we’re confident that an esteemed omnichannel retail leader like Ryan will further position Neiman Marcus for sustainable growth.” The strategy involves seeking new partnerships with brands and designers including exclusives and creating new types of experiences across shopping channels for Neiman’s customers.

Ross will lead all aspects of Neiman Marcus, including the stores, e-commerce, remote selling and marketing, with much of his efforts directed toward customer centricity and operational aspects of the business, executives said.

Previously, Neiman Marcus had a tandem leadership structure headed by Lana Todorovich, chief merchandising officer, and David Goubert, the chief customer officer. Goubert, whose work was more focused on the operational sides of the business, is leaving Neiman’s to “pursue personal interests, including his passion for social impact businesses,” Neiman’s indicated in its statement. Goubert spent three years at Neiman’s.

“David has helped lead us through a significant transformation, establishing a strong roadmap and a dynamic team fueling future success,” stated van Raemdonck.

Todorovich continues as chief merchandising officer and her responsibilities remain unchanged. However, instead of reporting to van Raemdonck, she will be reporting to Ross.

Todorovich has been building new partnerships with brands and designers, and working closely with van Raemdonck in that effort. They will continue working together on brand partnerships.

Todorovich has also been creating new experiences for customers, in a strategy she characterizes as ‘retail-tainment.’  In a June interview with WWD, Todorovich explained that retail-tainment is about “reimagining” store experiences, and that it entails working with brands and designers to devise more imaginative and often complex experiences and presentations for shoppers, including exclusives, that go beyond the usual retail theater. “They are multisensory. They are multidimensional. The scale is fully immersive,” she said. For example in September, Brunello Cucinelli is providing an exclusive capsule designed specifically for Neiman’s by sisters Camilla Cucinelli and Carolina Cucinelli, with an extensive women’s collection. Various events are planned, including Carolina Cucinelli hosting an event in Texas for top customers and influencers.

As president of Williams Sonoma, the kitchenware and home furnishings retailer, Ross was responsible for “driving integrated channel strategies, customer growth and evolving the relevancy of the brands.” He resigned from Williams Sonoma on July 26.

Before joining Williams Sonoma, Ross was executive vice president of marketing and digital at HSN through the company’s acquisition by QVC. He also held positions at Harrods, Pottery Barn and Gap Inc.

Neiman’s represents his first executive slot in luxury. He will oversee all three channels at Neiman’s: stores, online and remote selling.

Ross will soon move to Dallas with his husband, Robbie, and their three dogs. Dallas is where NMG is establishing one of its new corporate hubs around the country, a progressive workplace plan enabling associates to work remotely while fostering collaboration and providing more convenient locations for meetings. A hub will be opening in the Tower at Cityplace on North Central Expressway just north of downtown Dallas.

“The location is ideal for associates based in the area and is centralized between its Neiman Marcus downtown and NorthPark flagships,” the company said in a statement. “This hub will go through extensive renovations to outfit the space with innovative solutions to support the retailer’s integrated ways of working with an estimated opening of early 2023. The company will maintain its Neiman Marcus downtown Dallas location as its flagship with additional corporate space above it.

Ross has been a supporter of The Trevor Project, No Kid Hungry and Habitat for Humanity.  

“Neiman Marcus is the pinnacle of luxury and maintains the strongest customer relationships in the industry,” Ross said in a statement.

The appointment of Ross as president of Neiman Marcus comes after the company recently announced $500 million investments in technology and supply chain. 

Neiman’s is part of the Neiman Marcus Group, which includes Bergdorf Goodman as well as Horchow, and Farfetch, which has a minority equity stake in NMGDarcy Penick continues to lead Bergdorf’s as its president.

Executives said recruiting Ross is not any type of succession strategy at Neiman’s and that van Raemdonck has no plans to leave the company. They said Ross’ appointment streamlines the organization.

For its third fiscal quarter ended April 30, NMG reported comparable sales grew more than 30 percent, beating pre-COVID-19 levels. The company also reported that comparable gross merchandise value grew in the high 20 percent range compared to pre-pandemic 2019 and that there was a 300-basis-point margin expansion in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, compared to the 2019 quarter, and a 150-basis-point expansion compared to last year’s quarter.