Dublin, Calif. -- Ross Stores has named chief merchandising officer and president Barbara Rentler as its next CEO, making her the 25th female chief executive to currently serve at a Fortune 500 company. She will also join the company’s board, along with COO and president Michael O’Sullivan.
Rentler will succeed Michael Balmuth, who announced nearly two years ago his intent to step down as CEO and become executive chairman, effective June 1, 2004. Ross Stores said Balmuth will continue to play an integral role on the senior management team.
Rentler has served as president and chief merchandising officer of Ross' Ross Dress for Less division since 2009. From 2006 to 2009, she was executive VP, merchandising, with responsibility for all Ross apparel and apparel-related products. She served at Ross' dd's Discounts as executive VP and chief merchandising officer from 2005 to 2006. Prior to that, she held various executive and merchandising positions at the company, which she joined in 1986.
“We are delighted to announce the team which will lead Ross Stores into the future, as we seek to build on our strong record of growth,” Balmuth said. “Barbara is a gifted merchant and demonstrated leader who has been part of our company's growth for 28 years. She has played an important role in developing an exceptional team of off-price merchants whose abilities to procure great bargains have been a key driver of our success. Her strong merchandising expertise and management skills give me great confidence that she will be an excellent CEO.”
Balmuth will remain a key member of Ross’ executive team with Jim Fassio, president and chief development officer, and Doug Baker, president and chief merchandising officer, dd's Discounts, continuing to report directly to him.
Other promotions effective June 1 include: Lisa Panattoni to president merchandising; and Bernard Brautigan to group executive VP merchandising.
Ross Stores operates Ross Dress for Less, with 1,172 stores in 33 states, the District of Columbia and Guam. It also has 137 dd's Discounts in 10 states.