Industry / Retail

Belk Gets New CEO In Exec Reshuffle


After a one-day bankruptcy earlier this year, the Belk department store chain has reshuffled its executive suite, promoting its current president and chief merchandising officer Nir Patel (pictured) to CEO.

Patel replaces Lisa Harper, who has been the company’s CEO since July 2016. Harper will now become executive chair of the company’s board of directors. In a statement, she noted that one of her first jobs was at a Belk department store. Harper, who also served as CEO of Hot Topic, was the first nonfamily member to head the company.

Patel joined Belk in 2016 as executive vice president, men’s and e-commerce. He was promoted to chief merchandising officer in 2018, and then named president in 2020. Prior to his time at Belk, Patel was senior vice president at Kohl’s and, before that, vice president at Land’s End. He has also worked at Abercrombie & Fitch, Target, and Gap.

Replacing Patel in the president’s chair is Don Hendricks, who currently serves as chief operating officer, overseeing the company’s store operations. Hendricks previously worked as chief information officer at Gymboree Corporation and chief operating officer and chief information officer at Hot Topic.

In addition, Chris Kolbe has joined the company as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. He comes to Belk with 30 years of retail experience. He most recently served as senior vice president of global design and trend for Kohl’s, according to his profile on LinkedIn.

In February, the Charlotte, N.C.–based department store chain, one of the oldest retailers in America, filed for Chapter 11, citing the stress that the COVID-19 pandemic was putting on its business.

Belk was able to sail through the process in one day due to a prepackaged reorganization negotiated with its lenders that kept majority owner Sycamore Partners in control. It currently numbers nearly 300 stores in Southeastern states.

(Photo courtesy of Belk)

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By: Rob Bates

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