Belk has promoted President and Chief Merchandising Officer Nir Patel to CEO as the company also makes two other executive changes. Current CEO Lisa Harper will transition to the role of Executive Chair of the Belk Board of Directors.
Patel has been with Belk since 2016, joining as EVP, GMM, Men’s and Ecommerce. His responsibilities grew to encompass Home, Kids and Visual Merchandising before he took the CMO role in 2018. Patel added the President title in 2020 as he assumed additional responsibilities for marketing and ecommerce.
Prior to joining Belk, Patel was SVP at Kohl’s, VP at Lands’ End and held other roles at Abercrombie & Fitch, Target and Gap.
“I’m honored to continue the great legacy of Belk,” said Patel in a statement. “We quickly adapted to the challenges the pandemic threw at us this past year. I’m proud of our team’s ability to stay focused on what really matters to our customers — having the best products and making their shopping experience safe and seamless. We’ve accomplished so much already, and I’m excited to see all the ways that we’ll continue to grow.”
Current COO Don Hendricks will be promoted to President. Hendricks also has been with Belk since 2016 and has prior retail experience from leadership roles with Gymboree, Hot Topic and Torrid.
Additionally, Chris Kolbe was hired as EVP, Chief Merchandising Officer. He has 30 years’ experience at retailers including Kohl’s, Lands’ End, Original Penguin and Urban Outfitters. He will lead the Merchandising, Product Design and Sourcing teams for Belk.
Belk emerged from an expedited “one-day reorganization” after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2021. The retailer raised $225 million in new capital from owner Sycamore Partners, reduced its debt load by $450 million and extended maturities on all term loans to July 2025 during the process. The retailer has been seeking to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and “general market-related challenges.”