York, PA and Charlotte, NC—It’s a case of retail trading places. Kathryn Bufano, president and merchandising officer at Belk was named Thursday to be the new president/ceo at The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. replacing the outgoing Brendan Hoffman.
Also on Thursday, Belk Inc announced that EVP/GMM of men’s, home and kids David Zant has been promoted to president and chief merchandising officer. He replaces Bufano, who starts her new job on August 25.
Bufano reportedly was recruited for the Bon-Ton position by Hoffman who will assist her in the transition.
‘Redefine and Drive’
Bon-Ton Chairman/Chief Strategy Officer Tim Grumbacher said in a statement, “We are excited to have an executive with Kathryn’s talents and background assuming the role of president and chief executive officer of the company. Her years of experience in the department store industry will allow her to refine and drive the strategic growth initiatives we have put in place over the last several years. We look forward to Kathryn joining our team and leading the future success of our company.”
Bufano had been at Belk since 2008, starting as president of merchandising and marketing. She was promoted to president and chief merchandising officer in August 2010. Bufano was CEO of Vanity Shops from 2006 to 2008 and an executive vice president at Sears before that. She has also served as chief merchant at Dress Barn. Prior to that she worked for Federated in its Macy’s East and Lord & Taylor divisions.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to lead the Bon-Ton team,” Bufano said. “I have great confidence in the company’s future and I look forward to working with management and the Board in executing a successful strategic plan and increasing shareholder value.”
Zant received praise from CEO Tim Belk on his promotion. “We are very pleased to announce David Zant’s promotion to our top merchandising and marketing post. He is an exceptional merchant who is well-respected in our industry, and who will bring great strategic leadership to these areas of our business.”
Zant has been GMM of men’s, home and kids since 2008. He served as vice chairman for private brands at Bon-Ton from 2005 to 2008; before that he was at Belk, first as president of its central division and later as EVP/GMM of women’s. Zant has also held positions at Saks and Mercantile Stores Company.