Months after bankruptcy, Belk appoints new CEO

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AP) – A North Carolina-based department store chain has appointed a new CEO, months after filing and coming out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the company said in a statement.

Belk’s press release said on Wednesday that Nir Patel has been promoted to CEO of President and Chief Merchandising Officer, Charlotte’s Observer reported. Patel replaces Lisa Harper, who was CEO since July 2016, and is now Executive Chairman of the Board of Belk. The press release did not say what led to the change.

Patel worked at Belk for five years in a variety of roles, most notably as Executive Vice President and General Manager of Merchandising before being promoted three years ago to Director of Merchandising. Last year, Patel was named president in charge of marketing and e-commerce.

Belk was able to get in and out of bankruptcy in less than 24 hours because its owner, private equity firm Sycamore Partners, got nearly all of Belk’s creditors to approve the terms of a deal in advance. At the time, Sycamore said it would retain majority control of Belk, while a group of department store creditors, led by private equity firms KKR and Blackstone, would receive a minority stake. The bankruptcy plan would help Belk get rid of around $ 450 million in debt.

Belk’s has 17,000 employees and 291 department stores in 16 Southeastern states. As of February, it had approximately 1,200 employees.

The Belk family had sold the department store to Sycamore in 2015 for $ 3 billion.

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