Advertising Age has learned Exec VP-Marketing Brad Jakeman is leaving the retailer after less than a year on the job. He follows former Chief Marketing Officer Anne MacDonald, who left three months ago after 13 months.
Mr. Jakeman worked with Ms. MacDonald at Citigroup, where the two were architects of the "Live Richly" campaign. Their arrival at Macy's, shortly after Federated's acquisition of May's department stores, was seen as part of an initiative to build the iconic department store into a national brand. But the ambitious task was hampered by an internal struggle over the speed with which to execute branding changes. The company this year has reported some of the sector's worst same-store sales.
In a statement, Mr. Jakeman said he felt "very proud of the contributions I have made during my time there."
"I think they're prepared to change the model, but they want to do it at a slower pace," said one insider. "It's not a money thing, but a reluctance to enter uncharted waters."
When Ms. MacDonald left Macy's in June, she was replaced by Peter Sachse, who also preceded her in the top marketing spot.
"The main issue in most of these retail chains is having to sell a lot of stuff right now and then branding in the long term -- and there has to be a healthy amount of both," said Jose Molla, president of La Comunidad, who worked with Mr. Jakeman on Citigroup's Hispanic marketing efforts. "Not knowing much about it, I think Macy's needs more branding work."
With Mr. Sachse back in place, Macy's has returned to the tried-and-true marketing of the past, newspaper advertising based on a sale, not branded TV or multimedia campaigns.
Macy's traditional approach has been to advertise sales in newspapers, an approach that Mr. Molla said can lead to problems. "When someone else has a better sale, customers just go there," he said. Macy's is "having one sale after another and in the long term, that could be a problem."
At Macy's Mr. Jakeman led a team, in partnership with JWT New York, to develop an ad campaign starring Martha Stewart, Jessica Simpson and Donald Trump, among other glitterati with eponymous product lines being sold at Macy's. The spots, which will bow Feb. 15 during the Emmy's, feature Donald Trump blow-drying his hair and Ms. Simpson doing her famous dumb blonde act to get into Macy's before it opens.
"Brad's contributions to our marketing program at Macy's have been important," Mr. Sachse said in a stement. "In particular, Brad has lead the conception and execution of our new brand campaign and his stewardship of our marketing efforts leave us in good stead for our future programs."