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Neiman Marcus gives update on security breach

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Neiman Marcus Group on Thursday posted a statement on its website in which it said that, to its knowledge, customers’ Social Security numbers and birthdates were not stolen during its holiday security breach. Last week, the retailer revealed that some of customers’ payment information had been stolen and that the thieves had made unauthorized charges.

In the website post, Neiman Marcus also said that customers who shopped online do not appear at this time to have been affected by the incident, and it said personal identification numbers, or PINs, were never at risk because the company does not require the use of PIN pads in its stores.

“We have taken and are continuing to take a number of steps to contain the situation, and to help prevent an unlawful intrusion like this from happening again,” said Karen Katz, CEO, Neiman Marcus, in the letter. “Actions we have taken include working with federal law enforcement, disabling the malware we have found, enhancing our security tools, and assessing and reinforcing our related payment card systems in light of this new threat.”

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Container Store enlists stakeholders for new campaign

BY CSA STAFF

The Container Store has kicked off a new purpose-driven marketing campaign focused on its values-based approach to business and conscious capitalism with full-page national newspaper ads as well as videos on the company’s new YouTube Channel.

The campaign is capitalizing on momentum generated by the company’s having made Fortune magazine’s list of 100 Best Companies To Work For for the 15th consecutive year, placing at number 28 this year. Two-thirds of the list’s tally is based on an anonymous employee survey called the Employee Trust Index.

The campaign asks, “What if everyone associated with a business could thrive?” and highlights one of the core tenets of the conscious capitalism movement — the stakeholder model — which decrees that a business and everyone associated with it is successful when an organization makes decisions that positively impact all its stakeholders.

Five of the Container Store’s stakeholders are featured in full-page ads in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and USA Today and in videos on the retailer’s blog — whatwestandfor.com — and its YouTube channel, which also debuted today. The ads also feature employee Kevin Postell; customer Amy Harman; vendor Hardeep Melamed, in.bag purse and jewelry organizers; community partner Dr. Sandra Chapman, founder and chief director of Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas; and shareholder Jon Sokoloff, managing partner of private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners.

The creative will be integrated in the Container Store’s direct mail, email, in-store materials and through its social media channels including its blog throughout 2014.

“We feel strongly that business doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game — someone doesn’t have to lose for someone else to win. When organizations lead with and make decisions based on love, ensure all of its stakeholders are fulfilled and successful, well, research has shown that those are some of the most financially successful businesses,” said Kip Tindell, chairman and CEO of the Container Store. “This approach isn’t altruism. It’s capitalism — done in a conscious way. The result is a culture for the Container Store that drives the value of our business — the culture drives the value.”

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Office Depot appoints new VP, investor relations

BY CSA STAFF

Office Depot has appointed Michael A. Steele as VP of investor relations. Steele, who most recently served as VP of investor relations for OfficeMax, where he had been employed since July 2007, will report to Stephen E. Hare, EVP and CFO.

Steele will develop and execute Office Depot’s investor relations strategy, serving as the primary interface for management with the financial community. He plans to relocate to the Office Depot corporate headquarters in Boca Raton.

Rich Leland, having led both treasury and investor relations for Office Depot since April 2013, will continue as VP finance and treasurer, assuming additional key responsibilities in an expanded role.

Prior to his tenure at OfficeMax, he worked at the ServiceMaster Company, a residential and commercial service network, in various corporate finance roles including financial planning, treasury, and mergers and acquisitions. Early in his career, he held financial roles in the telecommunications industry and banking.

“As we work to integrate Office Depot and OfficeMax, clear and effective communication with our investors and the financial community is essential,” said Hare. “We are excited about the depth of experience and expertise that Mike brings to this role, particularly the relationships that he has formed while at OfficeMax.”

Steele is a CFA charterholder and graduated with an MBA from Loyola University Chicago and with a BS from Northern Illinois University. He has been an active member of the Senior Roundtable of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI), and is a former board member of NIRI’s Chicago chapter.

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