CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Belk’s appointment of Kathryn Bufano as president and chief merchandising officer yesterday marks an historic event for the company, the largest privately held department store in the country.
Bufano, who joined Belk two years ago following stints at a number of specialty and department store operations, is believed to be the first non-family member and woman to hold this position. She succeeds McKay Belk, who decided to extent a year-long sabbatical that has been reported to be related to Christian ministries. McKay Belk, who was part of the third generation of the Belk family that took over management of the company several years ago, will continue as a board member and advisor.
Tim Belk, chairman and CEO of Belk, in making the announcement, called Bufano “an outstanding merchant who understands our Southern lifestyle and (provides) excellent strategic leadership to enable Belk to deliver the fashion, style and service that our customers expect and deserve.” Bufano reports to Tim Belk.
Belk has 306 stores in 16 Southern states.