Woodies picks Holman as its new president

June 01, 1994|By Jay Hancock | Jay Hancock,Sun Staff Writer

Woodward & Lothrop Inc., the Alexandria, Va.-based department store chain that entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in January, said yesterday that it has named a new president and chief operating officer.

Edwin J. Holman, 47, who left West Coast retail giant Carter Hawley Hale Stores Inc. last year, will report to Robert B. Mang, Woodies' chairman and chief executive, subject to court approval. Mr. Holman had been Carter Hawley's vice chairman and chief operating officer.

The appointment is a crucial one as Woodies tries to reorganize a balance sheet loaded with debt in the 1980s by owner A. Alfred Taubman. Analysts praised Carter Hawley as a well-run concern that avoided many of the problems facing other department store companies in recent years.

With luck, Mr. Holman will "bring that expertise and operating and merchandising skills to the East Coast," said Mark Millman, head of Millman Search Group Inc., a Baltimore executive placement company that specializes in retailing.

The danger, Mr. Millman said, is that Mr. Holman may not know the market.

"All of Carter's operations are on the West Coast," Mr. Millman said. "Let's face it, Woodies is a regional operation."

Woodward and Lothrop operates 16 Woodies stores in the Washington and Baltimore areas. A subsidiary, John Wanamaker, operates 15 department stores in the Philadelphia area.

Mr. Holman joins Robert J. Mulligan, vice chairman and chief administrative officer of Woodies and chairman of Woodward & Lothrop Holdings Inc., in the companies' top ranks.

Mr. Mulligan, 55, signaled that Mr. Holman would take over some of his duties eventually.

"My intent had always been to take early retirement when I turned 55. The arrival of Ed Holman will allow for a smooth transition," Mr. Mulligan said in a written statement issued by the company.

Mr. Mulligan will continue to be responsible for finance, legal and real estate matters and will be in charge of Woodies' financial reorganization, the company said. Mr. Holman, the new president, will be in charge of personnel, management information systems and operations and logistics.

Mr. Holman had been between jobs. He left Carter Hawley last year and had been consulting, a Woodies spokeswoman said.

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