Executive changes at Service Merchandise

Husband and wife team Charles and Rose Septer left Brentwood, Tenn.-based Service Merchandise in early January after years of helping to save the specialty retailer from bankruptcy.

Charles Septer was the president and CEO of the struggling company. His duties have been assigned to other departments. Meanwhile, the company is searching for a replacement for Rose Septer who was senior VP of jewelry. Company officials would not comment on whether her resignation was based on Service’s decision to terminate her husband’s position.

Executives were not the only ones affected by layoffs. Some 1,750 associates also were displaced. Because of recent store remodeling efforts that slashed sales space nearly in half at all locations, Service downsized staff accordingly. All remodeled stores retain two managers instead of four and seven full-time sales associates instead of 15. No part-time sales associates lost their jobs. In addition to individual store layoffs, a customer service call center was shut down in Nashville, forcing 30 employees out of work.

In other Service news, Mike Hogrefe has been named chief financial officer, effective Feb. 4. He worked with Service Merchandise from 1992-1998. Most recently, he served as senior vice president and CFO of a Nashville, Tenn.-based corporate training and solutions company, the Frontline Group.