G. William Miller, who has been Treasury secretary and chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, has tentatively agreed to take the helm of the U.S. retailing operations of troubled Campeau Corp., a Canadian newspaper reported Saturday.
Neither Miller, currently a member of Toronto-based Campeau's board of directors, nor other Campeau officials could be reached for comment on the report by the Financial Post of Canada.
As reported Saturday, a source familiar with Campeau's plans said the company was expecting to name, possibly as soon as today, a prominent figure with a background in business, law and politics to become the new U.S. chairman.
Miller, who holds a law degree from UC Berkeley, was chairman of the Federal Reserve in 1978-79 and Treasury secretary from 1979-81 in the Jimmy Carter Administration. Before entering government, he was chief executive of the Providence, R.I.-based conglomerate Textron Inc.
He currently runs a Washington consulting firm bearing his name.
Campeau last week announced plans to establish an independent U.S. organization, headed by a new chairman, to operate its retailing divisions. Those divisions include the Compton-based Ralphs supermarkets chain, along with Campeau's debt-burdened Federated Department Stores and Allied Stores divisions.
The autonomy plan was intended largely as a prelude to seeking bankruptcy court protection for the Federated and Allied units, the source close to Campeau said. Although they have no outlets in Southern California, Federated and Allied make up the second-largest department store organization in the United States.
According to the Financial Post, the Federated and Allied bankruptcy protection filings would probably be made in Cincinnati, where the department store operations are based. The anticipated filing under Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code would give the department stores time to stay in business and reorganize while protected from interference by creditors.
The department stores' problems stem from huge takeover debts related to Campeau's acquisition of Allied for $3.5 billion in 1986 and its purchase of Federated for $6.6 billion in 1988. Campeau's department stores include Bloomingdale's, Burdines, Abraham & Straus and The Bon Marche.