NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Before Federated Department Stores' one-year anniversary of its conversion to Macy's, the marketing executive charged with overseeing the transition, Anne MacDonald, is out. The Cincinnati-based retailer today said Peter Sachse, chairman-CEO of Macys.com, will assume Ms. MacDonald's duties as chief marketing officer and president of Macy's corporate marketing "effective immediately."
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Replaces Peter Sachse, Who Will Oversee Macys.com
A Federated spokesman said the company would not comment further on the reason for the departure of Ms. MacDonald, a former Citibank marketing executive who joined the retailer in April 2006.
Had replaced Sachse
Ms. MacDonald, 51, took over at a critical period for Federated, as the company sought to build its flagship Macy's stores into a national brand. At the time her appointment was announced, Ms. MacDonald replaced Mr. Sachse, who moved into the newly created role overseeing Macys.com.
Federated Chairman Terry Lundgren said that by combining the "leadership of our marketing and online functions under Peter Sachse, we will be able to more effectively leverage the company's fast-growing online presence as we continue to build Macy's as a national brand through a broad range of marketing tools, including internet advertising."
In an early May speech to newspaper executives at the annual Newspaper Association of America conference, Ms. MacDonald said paid circulation matters more than newspapers' growing readership in the form of websites and pass-along copies. Winning ad dollars, Ms. MacDonald said, requires "winning in the marketplace." Federated buys more than $1 billion in measured media each year, including more than $800 million in of newspaper space.
Sales flat from year ago
Federated on May 16 reported sales of $5.92 billion for the first quarter ended May 5, a decrease of 0.2% compared to sales of $5.93 billion for the same period one year ago. Management had guided Wall Street to expect first-quarter sales in the range of $6 billion to $6.1 billion.
Sales in the quarter were soft, particularly in April, Mr. Lundgren said when results were released. He spoke positively about results at legacy Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores, but said sales at Macy's in new locations were disappointing. "While April has given us some concern about the consumer and the economic environment, we remain optimistic that our trends will improve particularly in the back half of the year as we reach the first anniversary of the Macy's brand conversion."
Earlier this month, Federated shareholders approved the company's proposal to change its corporate name to Macy's as of June 1. The name change is part of a plan to boost overall brand recognition of its flagship chain. Macy's contributes the largest chunk of Federated's revenue; the retailer's other stores include Bloomingdale's.
Named new media agency
Since taking over early last year, Ms. MacDonald named a new media agency, WPP Group's Mediaedge:cia, to handle Macy's media account, which had been handled by Publicis Groupe's Starcom for less than a year. WPP's JWT in New York is the current creative agency for Macy's.
Ms. MacDonald last fall recruited a longtime colleague, Brad Jakeman, from Citgroup to Federated. At the financial services firm, the pair was responsible for Citigroup's "Live Richly" campaign. Ms. MacDonald worked at Citigroup from 1997 to 2006, and prior to that was VP-brand management at Pizza Hut, a unit of PepsiCo. Earlier in her career Ms. MacDonald worked at now-defunct ad agency N.W. Ayer as well as Grey Advertising, now part of WPP Group.