New York City Socol’s resignation was not unexpected. According to a report in Women’s Wear Daily, he has been growing increasingly frustrated with Barney’s new owner Istithmar, an investment arm of the Dubai government, and felt it was encroaching on his managerial independence. Istithmar bought Barneys from Jones New York in 2007 for $942 million.
Under Socol, Barneys initiated an expansion program, and opened four flagship stores, 15 Barneys New York CO-OP stores and two outlet stores. Socol will remain with the company through the end of June.
“I felt strongly about remaining with the company for a short period following its recent sale to [private-equity firm] Istithmar, as well as through the opening of our Las Vegas flagship,” Socol said in a company statement. “With the sale process well behind us and the Las Vegas location having opened in January of this year, this is the appropriate time to move forward.”
With no obvious inside candidate, the company is currently searching for a successor “that will work cohesively with Barneys’ seasoned management team,” said David Jackson, CEO, Istithmar. But industry experts cautioned that finding a successor to lead the company would not be easy.