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Friday, October 23, 2020

Why Is Macy’s Felicia Williams “Interim” Chief Financial Officer?

It has been 5 months since Felicia Williams took over as Macy’s Interim Chief Financial Officer (CFO) from Paula Price who resigned the position after less than two years. She had taken over from Karen Hoguet who held the position for more than 21 years and retired in 2018.

Williams has taken over the post at a critical time. The company announced earnings and she represented Macy’s at several analyst meetings. While her first forays with analysts was tentative, she gained strength and showed conviction for the Macy’s strategy. Working during the pandemic caused by COVID-19, she met the challenge with a strong flair.

I question whether Macy’s should live with an “interim” CFO at this critical time. She has the respect of the company and should be appointed to the senior position as the next CFO by the board of directors of Macy’s Inc.

Williams (53) had joined Macy’s in 2004 and served in several roles in finance, including senior vice president, controller, and enterprise risk officer since 2016. Prior to that she held various leadership positions in financial services, accounting, and risk management. Prior to joining Macy’s, Williams held various roles at the Coca-Cola Company and Bristol-Myers Squibb. She serves on the board of trustees for the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. She has a B.A from the Florida A&M University and is a Certified Public Accountant.

It would be to Macy’s credit to appoint this African-American woman to this senior position in the company. Williams is seasoned and knows the ins-and-outs of Macy’s. I know, I worked for the company and it takes time until you are part of the culture and know your way around, and who to ask for guidance. I believe that now Macy’s must make many changes as management downsizes the company to align itself with the present mood of the country. 

Sales of apparel have been below expectation and management must decide how to face the important holiday season. Macy’s promotional stance will help attract shoppers and I believe many gifts will be bought but it may fall short of last year’s holiday season. Shoppers are still leery about visiting stores and prefer to shop online.

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