Cyrus Vance: Macy's Own Peacemaker

For two years, R.H. Macy has lingered in bankruptcy. It's trying to ward off a takeover from Federated Department Stores. Most recently, says the The Wall Street Journal, Macy's has urged investors Fidelity Investments and General Electric Capital to pony up more capital.

This bankruptcy, it seems, is a job for none other than Cyrus Vance, appointed by the bankruptcy judge on Feb. 22 to mediate conflicting claims. The 76-year-old Vance, a law partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, has seen battle before: As Secretary of State, he helped bring about the 1978 peace accord between Egypt and Israel. Last summer the soft-spoken negotiator tried to broker a peace among the warring factions in Bosnia. "Cy Vance has had a lot of experience solving ticklish problems on a much larger scale than Macy's," says Robert Miller, an attorney for Macy's bondholders.

The players in Macy's drama had a muted reaction to Vance's surprise appointment. A Federated spokesman says, "we look forward to participating in the process with Mr. Vance." Macy's CEO Myron Ullman III says he welcomes the mediator. Vance, traveling abroad, could not be reached.

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