The corner office at storied department store Macy's (M) will be occupied by someone else soon.
Amid a prolonged stretch of sluggish sales, Macy's announced on Thursday that its president Jeff Gennette, who has spent 33 years at the company, will assume the role of CEO in the first quarter of 2017. Gennette was previously elevated to president in 2014.
Gennette will take the baton from longtime Macy's chief Terry Lundgren, who helped create the modern-day Macy's and has been its CEO since 2004. Lundgren will continue to serve as executive chairman.
"I have been the CEO of Macy's for 13 years, and by the time I turn it over to Jeff next year it will be 14 years, and I will be 65 years old. How many CEOs of Fortune 500 companies do you know have been around for as long as I have? I would say very, very few," Lundgren told TheStreet in an interview.
Added Lundgren, "We have planned this for over two years when we made Jeff president of the company. It was all part of our succession plan."
Lundgren said he will stay on as executive chairman for as long he could be helpful to Gennette and the company.
TheStreet talked with Lundgren and Gennette to discuss the transition process that has now been set in motion, as well as Gennette's vision for Macy's. What follows is a condensed and edited version of our conversation.