WWD Digital Daily

Sudden Change in Command At Belk

● Company president Don Hendricks steps in as interim CEO to fill the void.


Belk Inc., the Southern regional department store chain, has appointed Don Hendricks interim chief executive officer in the wake of the sudden departure of Nir Patel.

Belk said Patel left the company to pursue another interest but did not specify what that was.

Hendricks has been serving as president of Belk. He joined the

Charlotte, N.C.-based retailer in 2016 as the chief operating officer before adding stores to his responsibi­lities in 2019 and being named president in 2020. Prior to joining Belk, Hendricks held positions at Gymboree, Hot Topic and Torrid, including chief informatio­n officer and chief operating officer.

Patel, prior to becoming CEO of Belk in July 2021, was its chief merchandis­ing officer. Before that he was Belk's executive vice president and general merchandis­e manager of men's, home, kids and e-commerce. Before Belk he was senior vice president of men's, young men's, juniors and kids at Kohl's. Prior to that, he worked for Lands' End.

Belk is part of Sycamore Partners' portfolio of brands that also includes Limited, Hot Topic, Lane Bryant, Ann Taylor and other retail brands. Sycamore, a New York-based private equity firm, bought Belk in November 2015 for about $3 billion. The business had been owned and operated by the Belk family. The business, founded in 1888, has about 300 stores in 16 states.

It's long had a loyal following and successful­ly competed against national chains such as Macy's and Kohl's. However, the company went bankrupt in 2020 during the pandemic and was fasttracke­d out of the Chapter 11 proceeding­s through a prepackage reorganiza­tion involving a reduction of debt and refinancin­g. There had been some industry speculatio­n about the chain's lagging performanc­e, which would have been compounded by the health crisis.

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