An Icon Gets a New Leader

New general manager Jeff Byron has big Louboutins to fill at Neiman Marcus Downtown

Jeff Byron has big Louboutins to fill at Neiman Marcus Downtown

He may hail from Jersey, but Jeff Byron is as kind as a Southern gentleman. The new vice president and general manager of Neiman Marcus Downtown left his post as VP/GM of Saks Fifth Avenue in Chicago to man the iconic store in the luxury retail chain.

Byron, who admits to a love of animals and Dallas' accessibility, arrived at the store just before the company went public. Driven by hard work and respect, Byron is bound to shake things up — if not by his business acumen then by his affability.

We chatted with Byron about moving to Texas, how Dallas style compares to Chicago's, and replacing the beloved Shelle Sills.

CultureMap: Did you ever see yourself moving to Texas?

JB: No, but it’s been a nice move. Yes, it’s a brutal time of year, but I do understand that the winters are absolutely incredible.

CM: What has eased your transition to Dallas?

Jeff Byron: It’s the people. One thing I’ve found surprising is that people will say, “Oh you’re from Chicago; you were with Saks.” [They] give me my history before I get to know them. I find that wonderful that [people] take an interest. I was pleased to meet and talk to genuine people in Dallas. Not only professionally but personally. 

CM: Favorite neighborhoods thus far?

JB: There are so many interesting neighborhoods that I am exploring. The downtown revitalization is incredible. I am intrigued by the energy in Uptown, the serene aspects of walking along Turtle Creek — so close to the city, yet removed — and the incredible diversity of Kessler Park and Bishop Arts.

The Arts District [is] beyond comparison, [as well as the] architectural integrity in the suburbs that is defined by the decade of development. This is a beautiful city.

CM: Before making the big move to Neiman's, what were you most excited about?

JB: I think it gets down to the culture; I was enamored with the culture of the company. There’s tremendous loyalty with the store and it’s multi-generational to all family members — not just from grandmother to mother and daughter — and that’s just incredible. You just feel it, that [the store is] an iconic institution. 

CM: How does Dallas' fashion scene compare to Chicago's? 

JB: My observation is that Dallas is not as conservative as Chicago and that the people of Dallas are quite comfortable making a strong statement about their personal style and how it relates to their individual objectives. Fashion, novelty and color are embraced. 

CM: What kind of manager are you?

JB: I’m involved, but I’m not a micromanager. I want to work with people that are well-placed, have fun and enjoy the environment I’m in. It’s more of a “I work with you, you don't work for me” mentality.

CM: Did you get the chance to meet the beloved former GM/VP Shelle Sills?

JB: Yes, and my joke is that I’ve got big Louboutins to fill.

Jeff Byron, Neiman Marcus
Jeff Byron is the new vice president and general manager of Neiman Marcus Downtown. Photo by John Cain Photography
Neiman Marcus downtown Dallas
Byron says you just feel that Neiman Marcus Downtown is an iconic institution.  Photo courtesy of Neiman Marcus