Women Leaders

Karen M. Hoguet, Macy’s, Inc.

Karen M. Hoguet

Macy’s Mission

Editors’ Note

Karen Hoguet has held her current post since 1997. She joined the company as a senior consultant in marketing and long-range planning after leaving the Boston Consulting Group in 1982. In 1985, she was named Director of capital and business planning and, in 1987, promoted to Operating Vice President for planning and financial analysis. A year later, she was elected a corporate vice president and became Senior Vice President of planning in 1991. Hoguet added the title of Corporate Treasurer a year later. In 1997, she was elected Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2005.

Company Brief

Headquartered in New York and Cincinnati, Macy’s, Inc. (macysinc.com) is one of America’s premier omni-channel retailers, operating about 880 stores in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico under the names of Macy’s, Macy’s Backstage, Bloomingdale’s, Bloomingdale’s Outlet, and Bluemercury, as well as the macys.com, bloomingdales.com, and bluemercury.com websites.

What makes Macy’s so special?

It all comes down to the people. I can’t imagine a culture that is more supportive and full of bright, competitive, and caring people, and where integrity is so critical. It really feels like a second family to me.

What has made this a place you’ve wanted to stay?

One of the benefits of working in a larger company is having the opportunity to stay with the same company but do a lot of different things over the course of what for me is an almost 35-year period.

Also, this is clearly an industry where there has been and continues to be constant change, so it has been really fun. If I didn’t feel challenged or like the people with whom I’m working, I would do something else.

How does Macy’s at its size and scale maintain that entrepreneurial feel?

It’s a challenge and something we are always working to make happen. One of the things that is so wonderful about retail is that people at a very young age can run a business, and they have to be entrepreneurial and nimble. We’re full of people who are always looking for innovative ways to make their businesses better, and the challenge is to make sure that creativity, passion, and competitiveness don’t get buried within a big company.

We were also among the first retailers to really learn about digital and e-commerce, and that required us to think differently and be faster.

Will brick-and-mortar remain relevant in the future?

Absolutely, people of all age groups and generations love the physical experience of shopping – the social aspects and the ability to touch, feel, try on, and put complete outfits together. This can’t be done in front of a screen. Having said that, we all are using digital devices to shop and buy. We need to create a seamless experience between channels, and we need to make the store shopping experience easier and more fun.

How important is it to have a workforce that mirrors the diversity of the Macy’s customer base?

It’s extraordinarily important and it’s why retailers are always leading the way in terms of diversity and inclusion, because we know we’ll be better retailers if our associates represent our customers.