Karen Katz, in Buoyant Spirits, Says Farewell to the Industry

Retiring is tough, especially the saying good-bye part. Yet Karen Katz, the departing chief executive officer of the Neiman Marcus Group, made it through four retirement parties last week, in Dallas and New York, to bid farewell to all her constituencies.
“I’m not one to ever spotlight myself,” Katz said on Friday at the retirement party held in the swanky Palm Court of The Plaza in Manhattan. She officially retires as Neiman’s ceo on Sunday, though she will remain on the board.
“When I became assistant manager of a small Neiman’s store in Houston, I just turned 28. All I wanted to be was a divisional merchandise manager. Being a ceo was never a lifelong dream. It’s been a journey beyond my wildest dreams,” she said.
For the most part, Katz maintained her chipper demeanor at the party, referencing her successor, the Belgian-born Geoffroy van Raemdonck. “If you don’t miss me for anything else, you will miss me for my simple name,” she said.
She gave a quick critique of the industry, stressing the importance of speed of delivery, remaking the fashion show schedule and enhancing the appeal of luxury with more casual, unique and less widely distributed offerings. “I leave all of these

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