Nordstrom executives Pete and Erik Nordstrom join their brother Blake, who has held the title of president for 15 years.
Nordstrom executives Pete and Erik Nordstrom have been named co-presidents of the company, joining their brother Blake, who has held the title of president for 15 years.
So now one of the country’s largest luxury retailers is officially ruled by a triumvirate. It’s an arrangement that worked out poorly in ancient Rome for Julius Caesar, Pompey and Crassus, and that appears unique in corporate America: Whole Foods and a few companies have two CEOs, but no equally prominent, publicly traded U.S. company has three.
In fact, however, little changes except the titles. Decisions have long been made through consensus among the three brothers, said spokeswoman Brooke White.
All sit on the Nordstrom board and are paid the same salary, and all have similar stakes in the company (between 1.60 percent and 1.67 percent.)
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The title further “reinforces and recognizes their approach to leadership,” said board Chairman Enrique Hernandez after announcing the news at the annual shareholders meeting Tuesday, adding that the brothers have “demonstrated that they work harmoniously.”
Pete was previously executive vice president and president of merchandising, the unit that oversees the brick-and-mortar stores. Erik was executive vice president and president of Nordstrom.com.
The Nordstrom brothers are co-presiding over a rapidly changing business, as Nordstrom seeks to ride the wave of online commerce even as it invests heavily in brick-and-mortar stores.
The company is spending $80 million in renovating its downtown Seattle flagship store, Blake Nordstrom said Tuesday. He added that the company believes there could be room for up to 300 Nordstrom Rack stores, its discount franchise, by 2020. That’s up from 177 Rack stores today.
The off-price business is now in vogue among brick-and-mortar retailers. Macy’s said Tuesday it would launch a chain of stores similar to the Rack, with the first four pilot stores opening in New York City in the fall. The new venture will be dubbed Macy’s Backstage.
Fraternal co-leadership runs deep in the Nordstrom DNA. Elmer, Everett and Lloyd Nordstrom, the three sons of the Swedish immigrant who founded the Seattle retail company in 1901, worked closely together to build it into a luxury retail empire.
Their children — including Bruce, the father of the current co-presidents, also ran the business collaboratively.
In the early 1990s there were four co-chairmen and four co-presidents, including a few non-Nordstroms.