Chief Private Brand Officer, Great Idea or Anomaly?


The Macy’s reorganization is all over the news, punch it in Google and you will literally get thousands of hits, most of them referencing this Business Wire story. Unfortunately cutting 7,000 jobs in this economy is just another story in a long list of job cuts. This cut will include 40% of its executive staff, its divisional structure and the New York-based Macy’s Home Store and Macy’s Corporate Marketing divisions.
The key Private Brand piece of news in this announcement was that Timothy Adams, the current chairman and chief executive officer of Macy’s Home Store, will become chief private brand officer. The New York-based Macy’s Merchandising Group will be refocused exclusively on the design, development and marketing of Macy’s portfolio of Private Brands.

According to the Macy’s website: Adams joined MCH as chairman in July 2005 after serving as chairman of the Macy’s Florida division since April 2001. For the previous five years, he was president of the former Bon Marché (now Macy’s West) division, based in Seattle, WA. Adams began his retail career at Macy’s in Atlanta in 1976.

“Chief Private Brand Officer”, I like the way it sounds, Macy’s commits backs up its commitment to Private Brand with an executive level position and the organization to back it up. Over the last year Walmart has made a similar effort to focus on Private Brand but they have not taken the step to commit senior staff. This type of commitment to Private Brand has the potential to redefine not just Private Brand but brand as a whole.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.