Belk Shakes Up Leadership

Lisa Johnston
Senior Editor
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Belk is shuffling its leadership team — mostly notably including a new CEO — as the department store plots a post-bankruptcy future.  

Lisa Harper, who’s served as the department store chain’s CEO since July 2016, has transitioned to executive chair of the Belk board of directors. Nir Patel is being promoted to CEO from president and chief merchandising officer.

Patel joined Belk in 2016 as EVP, general merchandising manager, men's and e-commerce. He was named chief merchandising officer in 2018 and then president in 2020.  Prior to Belk, he was senior VP at Kohl's, and he’s held roles at Land's End, Abercrombie & Fitch, Target and Gap Inc.

As part of this, Don Hendricks will be promoted from COO to president, and Chris Kolbe is joining the company as EVP, chief merchandising officer.

Hendricks joined the retailer in 2016 as COO, taking on responsibility for its stores in 2019. His background includes tenures at Gymboree, Hot Topic and Torrid, including serving as both CIO and COO.

Kolbe, who’s held leadership roles at Kohl’s, Sonos, Land’s End and Urban Outfitters, will lead the merchandising, product design and sourcing teams for Belk.

Belk, which currently operates 300 stores in 16 states, as well as an e-commerce site and mobile app, completed its financial restructuring in February. In addition to reducing its debt and extending term loan maturities through 2025, it received $225 million of new capital.

In a statement, Patel said he was honored to continue Belk’s legacy. "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,” he added. “We've accomplished so much already, and I'm excited to see all the ways that we'll continue to grow."

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