Retiring Bon-Ton board chairman being replaced by his wife

Debra Simon has been board member since March 2016

Bon-Ton will liquidate.

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc.’s retiring board chairman Tim Grumbacher will be succeeded by his wife, fellow board member Debra Simon.

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. headquarters in downtown Milwaukee.

Simon has been on the board since March 2016. She will take over as board chair May 13. Grumbacher, who has been a member of the board since 1967, will continue to serve as chairman emeritus and advisor to the chief executive officer.

Grumbacher has been chairman of the board since 1991. He also served as CEO of  Bon-Ton, which has dual headquarters in Milwaukee and York, Pennsylvania,  from 1985 to 1995, and held various senior management positions within the company since 1977.

Simon was a practicing certified public accountant for 32 years. She worked for SF & Company (now Baker Tilly) before retiring in 2015.

When Simon was elected to the Bon-Ton board last year, Grumbacher was among those voting for her appointment. At the time, Kim George, vice president of investor relations at Bon-Ton, said there was no concern about a conflict of interest with the appointment.

Michael Gleim, vice chairman of the board said he is excited Simon will succeed Grumbacher as chair.

“She is an existing board member and we expect to leverage her financial and operational skills as we execute our strategy and navigate through the challenges facing the department store industry,” Gleim said in a written statement. “We look forward to her leadership and continued contributions.”

Like many retailers, Bon-Ton has struggled in recent years to attract customers as consumers shift more of their spending online and spend less time in stores.

Net income was $44.7 million, or $2.09 per share, down from $50.6 million, or $2.42 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2016. Revenue totaled $877.3 million, down from $927.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2016. Analysts expected $892.6 million in revenue.

For the full year, Bon-Ton reported a net loss of $63.4 million, compared with a net loss of $57.1 million in 2015.

Shares of the company’s stock were trading for about 86 cents this afternoon.

Bon-Ton will release its first quarter earnings May 18.

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