The merger of May Department Stores and Associated Dry Goods has claimed another executive casualty: Joseph E. Brooks said Monday that he will retire early as chairman and chief executive of Lord & Taylor, Associated's showcase chain of 47 upscale department stores.
Brooks will leave Lord & Taylor on Jan. 3 "to consider new challenges and opportunities." Brooks also has resigned from the May board of directors.
Brooks' resignation follows the announcement last week by Associated Chairman and Chief Executive Joseph H. Johnson, 64, that he will retire Oct. 31.
Brooks, who joined Lord & Taylor in 1975, said in an interview that "for many many years I intended to become the CEO of ADG, and when ADG ceased to exist my future was cut. So I'm looking for other opportunities, and they may not be in retailing."
The 58-year-old executive said he is "depressed" about leaving the chain he built from a nine-store business with $200 million in sales to a 47-store company with a projected $825 million in sales for 1986. Lord & Taylor said its operating profits have grown at a compound rate of 17.5% per year since Brooks took over.
Brooks said May made "the most kind and generous offer to me" to keep him with the company.