Thread regarding Neiman Marcus Group layoffs

"Yes" culture

Now it is enough just to be a brown noser and a “yes person” and up you go. I know that it’s not just characteristic of this company, I’ve worked before in a company where thinking with your head wasn’t much appreciated either. Still, it seems to me that this has really gotten out of control here.
Was it ever possible to progress here due to hard work only?

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Post ID: @OP+1b74hAKD

22 replies (most recent on top)

Looks like one of the people posting has a strong passion for GVR and an equally strong dislike for the former CEO. Let it go! It almost feels like the Ron Johnson regime at JCP. Anyone who was there before Ron was an id--t. And look where that got them.

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Post ID: @2fdh+1b74hAKD

You give the last set of private equity firms too much credit. If they really had good analytics they would have passed on the deal. Katz sold them on assumptions that were based on fiction. Interest rates were low at the time and they were greedy. First set of private equity owners were smart and wanted out because they were in year 7 and had been promised a big profit by year 5. They knew retail business, second group did not but had investors money to burn. Second group overpaid by 2billion $$$. It all became additional junk bond debt on the companies books which ultimately bankrupted NM. The only smart move they made was keeping My Theresa. GVR inherited the leftover mess. The new board whom is basically the old companies creditors will allow GVR time to reset the company. He must tear it down to it’s absolute core in order to rebuild it. Including eliminating legacy brands which are not relevant and employees whom work against change. The average age of the customers gets older every year. Time to move on and find a new customer. Constantly complaining employees focusing on the past will never work.

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Post ID: @2eeq+1b74hAKD

Prior post must have been written by GVR himself. So the story is that the last CEO was way too overmatched to run the company but smart enough to get the two PE firms, with all of their analytics, to buy it? And that PE firms don't do their own diligence? And then they rubber stamped everything? Please let us all into this world of make believe!

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Post ID: @2mwo+1b74hAKD

The 2 private equity companies bought NM based on these before mentioned strategies. They were sold a bill of goods that had no chance of succeeding. Rubber stamping these strategies during their ownership just meant they were as clueless as the CEO. Ultimately they dumped her and hired GVR. By then it was too late for him to do anything but restructure the debt. However old owners kept My Theresa for themselves leaving GVR with the worst performing parts of the company.

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Post ID: @2wok+1b74hAKD

the last post is a good spin but I just can't imagine a rubber stamp board from a PE firm. There's no way they would just sit there and support whatever a CEO wants. No way. They have too much invested.

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Post ID: @2qkn+1b74hAKD

The prior boards just rubber stamped CEOs strategies. They thought the compensation package would incentivize CEO to make smart moves. Last CEO (homegrown) simply not that smart and moved up via intimidation and manipulation. Putting her in charge exposed her weaknesses.
GVR inherited her team. He got rid of most her administration but there are still a few left that need to go. They are bitter because they lost $$$ because of bankruptcy and work against GVR success. Time to finish getting rid of the few that are left. He should also move company headquarters to NY. Then he will find more qualified execs as many leave or reject working for NM because of the DFW location. BG merchants could easily handle NM responsibilities from NY.

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Post ID: @2fnr+1b74hAKD

One problem in the merchant organization: if you've been here longer than GVR any question or issue that is raised is seen as being a malcontent. Just not true. Most of the people here want to succeed and want to do it here. But seeing how anyone who has a history with NMG is treated makes me wonder. I don't have BCG connections and I haven't worked with GVR in the past. Thus if I say something I'm viewed as a malcontent. I really just want to do my job as well as possible and be here as long as possible.

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Post ID: @2cye+1b74hAKD

The root cause was the debt. But I would think GVR and the prior CEOs have to get approval from the board for any major investment. I can't imagine any CEO makes investments like Manhattan without board support. There is enough blame for everyone on the past decisions. I don't think PE boards acquire a company and let the CEO go do whatever they want. Let's hope this board is better than the others in that aspect. Didn't they just support a major investment in the warehouse? I appreciate the support for GVR. I want him to succeed so we all do. But he's been here too long to simply get a pass. He's made plenty of money without anything to show for it. And alienated many by doing it. There was no sale, no IPO and yet he made bank. By negotiating for only himself. Plus, he can't play roulette with his hires. Every miss costs us six months at least. These are his hires now - Katie, Chris, Adam, Ginger, Amber -who are no longer here, not employees from the past. And our merchant org is a mess because he hired his underqualified friend. What do you want to happen - fire everyone who was here before GVR? At some point we have to ask is he the right person to lead us?

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Post ID: @2acs+1b74hAKD

What GVR has made is peanuts compared to the last 2 CEO’s made going from public to private. Ultimately private equity lost 100% of their investment in NM. Doubt they wish they ever got involved with NM. The root cause of NM’s problems today are these investments. GVR had no chance until the debt was gone. He was handed a terminal patient from a financial point of view. Plus he inherited a number of poor strategic initiatives from the last CEO such as a new technology system that was disastrous, a commitment to open an ill conceived Manhattan store, too many outlet stores, full price stores that had not been renovated in decades. Plus many others. He is stuck having to clean up the mistakes of his predecessors without the benefit of capital to implement improvements. At this point he can only rid himself of the past and implement his own strategy. Old NM employees complaints about him only raises doubts. He was brought in as an outsider because the prior CEO failed to develop anyone internally. If he wants to be successful he needs to keep churning his team until he has the right people in place. Malcontents from the past are not the answer.

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Post ID: @2sqg+1b74hAKD

We have to include GVR among the CEOs who personally enriched themselves. GVR did it while including nobody else - he made$10M in about six months! All while the company went under. The odd case about GVR is that he is the only one who made money during that time. The last two CEOs enriched themselves but others made money too - stockholders, other executives and then the PE firms. Do you think the CEOs had the ultimate control of the sale of the company? No way. Private Equity did. But they clearly benefited.

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Post ID: @2gdt+1b74hAKD

GVR has been here too long to blame the old regime. If the old regime culture is still here that's his fault. He didn't join yesterday. He joined close to four years ago - more than enough time to make his changes. And his hires are not effective. Someone else listed who he hired and who already left. Quite a list. He operates from the fringe and its ki----g us.

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Post ID: @2gdx+1b74hAKD

Disagree with last post. Last 2 CEO’s personally enriched themselves by selling NM to private equity companies. NM would be much healthier today if they had remained a public company and not sold themselves to make a few executives many millions in the process. Look at Nordstrom as an example of a healthy public retail company. GVR needs to quickly get rid of old NM mentality ASAP in order to attract today’s affluent customers and brands. Keeping around antiquated brands and employees will only prevent the re birth of NM. Whether NM is still around another 100 years depends on how fast he realizes it is time to move away from the past. The board of directors will dump GVR unless he can bring value back to NMG. He needs to be ruthless in order to save NM from the fate Barneys suffered from.

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Post ID: @1hfx+1b74hAKD

Good point - forgot that he was already here for more than two years when the pandemic started. He wasn't making a lot of progress. Other leaders outside of NM have moved much faster than he was. He's lucky that it came - made a lot of money in the short term and the new board is letting him do whatever he wants. It feels like a do over. In fairness, the biggest cloud over Neiman Marcus was the debt. And that was not the doing of any CEO current or prior. That's the world of Private Equity.

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Post ID: @1bgs+1b74hAKD

Agree to an extent on the last two posts. He needs people who are loyal - preferably to the company instead of just him. We need more than loyal yes people to GVR. But remember GVR is on his fourth year and has made very little progress. And he's now losing people he hired to be loyal to him. The ones that are staying are the ones who should be leaving. Katie leaving is a huge loss but someone has to take the blame for the last three years. And hiring the chief merchant who was not qualified means that all the merchant talent leaving is a loss.

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Post ID: @1iwx+1b74hAKD

Agree with the last post. Why would GVR want execs hired by the last administration? They are not truly loyal to him. Katz and prior execs personally made $$$ at the expense of NM’s future. He inherited an untenable mess. The pandemic only made a terrible situation worse. The quickest route to recovery is to eliminate all vestiges from the past. Any legacy execs left only allow these discussions of pre GVR to fester. Let’s get rid of the rest of them and have a loyal team all marching forward, not constantly polluting the new culture by bringing up the past. The past is what brought down NM, not GVR.

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Post ID: @1mip+1b74hAKD

GVR was brought in as a change agent to save a sinking ship. NM had too much debt and no real top line growth when he started.
He needs to continue to purge out the old bad habits to make the brand relevant again.
Still too much old wood around working against him. Particularly in the merchant organization. He needs to replace any left over execs who predate his arrival. He likely has 2 more years to fix NM. His vision will never succeed if he allows the old timers to doubt his strategy. Now is the time to rip off the old band aid and start the fall season with a 100% loyal team running NM.

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Post ID: @1kar+1b74hAKD

The take away is that if you want to be promoted, you have to leave. Why did they even survey us? That ESG team isn’t doing anything with the information.

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Post ID: @1nqn+1b74hAKD

Yes, it was possible to move ahead on hard work! The culture was known for internal promotions only. And we used to have a lot more senior women who advanced through the ranks. That has all changed. Who knows what were known for now. Every time someone leaves it's a blame game. Look around it's the CEO, the CHRO and their chiefs of staffs! Yes, we now have chief of staffs running around. It's the in thing.

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Post ID: @1gsw+1b74hAKD

GVR tells two stories: to the press it's the large debt he inherited and the pandemic. Internally though he blames everyone who was here before he was. Hard to believe that the business existed for more than a 100 years before he came!

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Post ID: @1oxs+1b74hAKD

Same thing at the store level as well. I noticed at the Troy store the same handful of associates were given high-end customers over and over again. At at store like NM a few wealthy client's can make your entire sales goal for the year with minimal effort. Meanwhile the rest of us are goaled pre-COVID numbers with the risk of termination during a pandemic. And they want us, beauty associates, to put makeup on people now. It's insane and very irresponsible.

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Post ID: @1tnf+1b74hAKD

The big difference now is the tenure. The leadership team and their direct report and their direct reports almost always came from internal promotions. And the frustration was the wait for those ahead of you to leave. That all changed with GVR. There's no connection to the history of NMG anymore at the top. So hard work has been replace by the friends club.

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Post ID: @1kef+1b74hAKD

The culture has changed so much since GVR arrived it's hard to recall the old one honestly. The old regime looks better than they may have been because this group is terrible. Look at Lisa K and Melissa L - they started at the bottom and worked their way up to the top in the merchant world. Of course both were pushed out by GVR.

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Post ID: @1apf+1b74hAKD

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