Veteran retail boss Terry Lundgren is stepping down as Macy’s CEO at the end of this quarter. The New York Post reports that Lundgren is trying to avoid a looming board shakeup that could tarnish his 13-year tenure at Macy's and turn the largest U.S. department store into a messy battleground. A partner at a private equity firm told The Post that he had been contacted about a Macy’s sale by a real estate investor — while other industry sources close to the situation say they, too, have had similar discussions. It seems as though Jeffrey Smith’s New York hedge fund Starboard Value, which invested in Macy’s in 2015, is fed up with the retailer's poor performance. Smith is allegedly angling for seats on Macy’s board.
Total Retail’s Take: A proxy battle may be in store for Macy’s. The department store seems to have been pushed by Starboard to unlock its real estate value. Macy’s added William Lenehan, CEO of Four Corners Property Trust, to its board. The retailer also hired a real estate executive to negotiate with developers, and then struck a deal with Brookfield Asset Management to redevelop about 50 of its stores. Macy’s annual meeting is coming up, usually taking place in late April or early May. We will keep a close eye on this situation until then.