Thomas Jefferson alum Karen Katz retires as CEO of Neiman Marcus

Neiman Marcus CEO Karen Katz is as philanthropic as she is business-savvy.

She established All Heart, which focuses on arts education in schools, and serves on the board of the Perot Museum. She’s juggled community service endeavors with navigating her $4.7-billion retail company through a recession, shifts in the industry and a debt crisis.

After 33 years of constant chaos, Katz has decided to retire.

“When I turned 60 last year, I had a bit of an epiphany,” Katz told the Dallas Morning News. “I’d been with the company 32 years and realized that if I was going to have another chapter in my life, I really needed to think about retiring.”

Katz, a North Dallas native, was 8 years old when Neiman Marcus opened at NorthPark Center in 1965. She entered the retail world as a buyer for Foley’s Department Store before she became an assistant manager at Neiman Marcus. She quickly proved she was a “great strategic thinker,” said Tom Lind, senior vice president of Neiman’s real estate, to the News.

In an industry that tends to be oversaturated with male CEOS, Katz also has focused her efforts on leveling the imbalance.

“I’m very proud that more than half of our senior executives are women,” Katz said. “Women are our target customers, and you have to have women executives and women on your board.”

Katz has no definitive plans for her retirement, yet.


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