Bon-Ton names new CEO

Kathy Bufano - (Photo / Submitted)

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. have tapped a woman with a wealth of department store industry experience to be its next president and CEO.

Kathryn Bufano, 61, will replace Brendan Hoffman on Aug. 25, according to a news release.

Hoffman announced in March that he would not be renewing his three-year contract when it expired Feb. 7, citing personal reasons. He will officially resign Aug. 25.

Bufano will receive a base salary of $900,000, according to documents Bon-Ton filed with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission. She will receive a signing bonus of $350,000, plus an additional $250,000 in March, when the company pays bonuses for 2014, according to the documents. She also has entered into a “restricted stock agreement and a restricted stock agreement — performance shares,” according to the documents.

Bon-Ton will pay relocation expenses to move Bufano and her family to the company’s headquarters in Milwaukee, according to the documents.

Bufano has served as president and chief merchandising officer of Belk Inc., a Southern-style department store chain based in Charlotte, N.C., since August 2010 and previously served as its president of merchandising and marketing from January 2008 to August 2010, according to the release.

From 2006 to January 2008, Bufano was CEO of Vanity Shops Inc., a privately owned mall-based specialty retailer based in Fargo, N.D. From 2002 to 2003 she was executive vice president and general manager of soft-lines for Illinois-based Sears Roebuck & Co. Prior to 2002, Bufano served as president and chief merchandising officer for Dress Barn Inc., part of the Ascena Retail Group Inc. of Mahwah, N.J., and in various positions in the Macy’s East and Lord & Taylor divisions of Federated Department Stores, now known as Macy’s Inc., according to the release.

“We are excited to have an executive with Kathryn’s talents and background assuming the role of president and chief executive officer of the company,” said Tim Grumbacher, board chairman and chief strategic officer. “Her years of experience in the department store industry will allow her to refine and drive the strategic growth initiatives we have put in place over the last several years.”

Grumbacher also complimented Hoffman, who helped hire Bufano as his replacement and will work with her until she is made a member of the board.

“The board of directors and I would personally like to thank Brendan for his leadership, initiative, accomplishments and dedicated service,” Grumbacher said. “We wish him well in his future endeavors.”

In the release, Bufano said she is excited about her new opportunity.

“I have great confidence in the company’s future and I look forward to working with management and the board in executing a successful strategic plan and increasing shareholder value,” she said.

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., with corporate headquarters in York County and Milwaukee, operates 270 department stores, including 10 furniture galleries, in 25 states in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers nameplates.

The company trades its shares on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol BONT.

Joseph Deinlein

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