CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – The CEO of Belk is stepping down, the retail company based in Charlotte has announced.

CEO Nir Patel is leaving the company to pursue other interests, the company said in a written statement. President Don Hendricks will be named the interim CEO.

Based in Charlotte, Belk opened its first department store in 1888 and currently operates nearly 300 stores in 16 southeastern states.

Belk was recently replaced as the title sponsor for the annual SEC-ACC bowl game at Bank of America. It is now the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.

Belk announced last year it was filing for bankruptcy amidst an uncertain future as online sales surged and physical retail store suffering, only heightened during the pandemic.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead the talented team at Belk,” Hendricks said. “I’m proud of our continued work to advance the business in numerous ways, while still keeping the wellbeing of our customers, associates, and communities as a top priority.”