Months after filing for bankruptcy, Belk names new CEO

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina-based department store chain has named a new CEO, months after it filed for and emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the company said in a statement.

Belk’s news release said Wednesday that Nir Patel has been promoted to CEO from president and chief merchandising officer, The Charlotte Observer reported. Patel replaces Lisa Harper, who had been the CEO since July 2016, and is now executive chair of the Belk board of directors. The news release did not say what led to the change.

Patel has worked at Belk for five years in various roles, including as executive vice president and general merchandising manager before being promoted three years ago to chief merchandising officer. Last year, Patel was named president overseeing marketing and ecommerce.

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

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

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

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