Steve Nave, the CEO of Bluestem Group, has stepped down to focus on recovering from two recent back surgeries, the Eden Prairie-based company said.
Bluestem Group, which reported a $16.5 million loss in its most recent quarter, is in the midst of a turnaround effort. The online retailer, which operates more than a dozen brands including Fingerhut and Gettington, caters to low-income and older customers.
“Steve has been an amazing leader for Bluestem over the past five years, growing its Bluestem Brands subsidiary from approximately $500 million in annual sales when he joined the company to approximately $2 billion in annual sales today, as well as leading the company through challenging external factors over the last 18 months,” Gene Davis, Bluestem’s board chairman, said in a statement. “The board and I fully support Steve’s difficult decision to step back and focus full-time on his recovery.”
Lisa Gavales, formerly CEO of Things Remembered and a member of Bluestem’s board, has been named interim CEO while the company searches for a permanent CEO.
Nave joined Bluestem Brands in December 2012 from Walmart, where he worked in various executive positions, including head of Walmart.com U.S.
Bluestem was acquired in 2014 for $565 million by Capmark Financial Group, a Pennsylvania-based real estate lender that later changed its name to Bluestem Group and consolidated its headquarters in Eden Prairie. Nave became CEO of the combined firm.
Bluestem Brands is the company that emerged from the Fingerhut mail-order company after the collapse of the empire of Tom Petters, who is in prison after being convicted of running a $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme.
It sells a wide range of merchandise to low-income customers who have trouble getting access to traditional credit by offering them installment plans to pay for their purchases.
As Bluestem Group has been trying to improve its business, it has exited some of its brands such as LinenSource and Solutions and closed its Draper’s & Damon’s women clothing stores.
Other retail brands it operates include Appleseed’s, Bedford Fair, Blair, Gold Violin, Haband, Norm Thompson, Old Pueblo Traders, Sahalie, Tog Shop and WinterSilks.
Kavita Kumar • 612-673-4113