Wednesday, January 20, 1999

DFS picks
new head for
isle operations

The former boss is being
promoted to oversee merchandising

By Russ Lynch


DFS-Hawaii, which holds the duty-free concession for the state's airports, is getting a new president but he will be based in San Francisco where parent company DFS Group is located.

The company said today that Bob Coe, executive vice president for marketing, will add Hawaii operations to his responsibilities with the added title of DFS-Hawaii president.

Edward J. Brennan, the former Macy's executive who has run the Hawaii operations since August 1997, has been promoted to president, DFS-merchandising, effective March 1.

In a statement today, the company announced a string of executive moves that follow a restructuring that took place last year. In August, the Hawaii and North American DFS operations were combined and Brennan became president of the U.S. region. He continued to be based in Hawaii, however.

The new Hawaii president, Coe, joined DFS Group in September 1984 as president of DFS-Alaska, after a series of merchandising posts in department stores. He served as president of the DFS mid-Pacific region for nine years before moving to the marketing executive post last year.

The post held by John Reed, Honolulu-based chairman of Pacific retailing for DFS Group, will remain as it is. Reed is also chairman of the new Hawaii Tourism Authority.

DFS-Hawaii, which has a number of retail operations in the islands in addition to the duty-free business, has an exclusive contract for the duty-free operations at the airports, for which it agreed to pay the state more than $100 million a year through May 31, 2001.

Due to the downslide in tourism from Japan, the duty-free business -- selling foreign luxury goods without import duties to international travelers -- has slipped and DFS-Hawaii fell short on its minimum payments to the state. By last fall, it was in arrears of almost $50 million. Under a repayment agreement, the company has been paying several million dollars a month and promised to resume quarterly payments of $25.5 million in March. The company said in September that it will pay off the arrears by the end of May.

DFS executives could not be reached for comment this morning.

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