Bob MacLea Honored as Newest Member of the NRF PROTECT Ring of Excellence

Longtime leader and industry icon gave his life to the loss prevention community, serving with dignity and earning our collective respect

The National Retail Federation (NRF) PROTECT Conference’s Ring of Excellence Award recognizes pioneers in the retail loss prevention and asset protection community whose honor, integrity and character have served as a lasting example for the loss prevention profession. The achievements and outstanding leadership of these honorees have helped shape the industry by contributing to the ongoing growth and development of the loss prevention/asset protection community, creating and enhancing loss prevention best practices, and building strong loss prevention teams.

Inductees to the Ring of Excellence are evaluated based on a variety of criteria, to include distinguished achievement in leadership, the development of new ideas, techniques, or technologies that advance our shared mission, outstanding service to multiple organizations serving the industry, their contributions to society as a whole, and many other ways that they have helped advance—and represent—the best of the retail loss prevention/asset protection industry.

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The NRF is proud to announce that the 2018 recipient of the NRF PROTECT Ring of Excellence is Bob MacLea.

Respected Industry Leader

MacLea was one of the retail industry’s longest-tenured and most-respected loss prevention executives. Beginning his career as a security officer in 1975 with Marshalls Department Stores, MacLea steadily rose through the ranks at TJX Companies taking on positions with increasing responsibility. After 41 years of service he ultimately retired as senior vice president of loss prevention in October 2016.

Bob received a business degree from Bentley College and was a strong advocate for continued education and professional training. Serving with various initiatves across the industry, he was an active proponent for the advancement of the loss prevention profession. He was a member of the loss prevention advisory council for the National Retail Federation, served on the board of directors for the Loss Prevention Foundation and was an active participant with the executive committee and audit committee, served on the editorial board for LP Magazine; and as one of the founding members of the Loss Prevention Research Council.

He was always one of the first to volunteer his team’s resources to support any industry effort that could possibly add value to advancing the profession. He actively engaged the resources at TJX to advance the Loss Prevention Research Council and its many research projects. He strongly supported resources and content development for both the LPQ and LPC certifications, advocating that TJX Companies remain among the industry leaders in certifying its LP/AP team members. He regularly encouraged his team to get involved in important industry initiatives to include topics such as diversity, organized retail crime, the women in LP committee, and other industry-shaping programs.

Most recently, he was elected as the newest member of the Retail Risk Hall of Fame as recognition for contributing “above and beyond to the cause of retail fraud, risk, and loss prevention.”

Serving the Community

MacLea always believed you must be involved with both your community and your profession, and he lived up to that belief. Over the years he gave himself to philanthropy, supporting many charitable initiatives such as the Youth Business Institute, Minority Suppliers, the NAACP. Lazarus House, Big Brother and Big Sister as well as Making Strides for Breast Cancer.

His innovation, compassion, and drive for excellence has raised the bar for loss prevention as an industry, providing a stellar example for all of us to follow. His focus on people was recognized with LP Magazine’s first “Magpie” Excellence Award for Community Service in the January-February 2017 print edition of the magazine.

Loving What You Do

Bob served as a mentor for leaders at every level across the entire loss prevention community. Asked why he worked as long as he did, he said, “I’ve always been told that when you retire, you should do something you love. I love my job and can’t think of anything I’d rather do. So why should I even think about leaving?”

Many individuals throughout the loss prevention profession expressed their heartbreak upon the news of MacLea’s passing in March of this year.

“In my years of serving the loss prevention profession, I cannot think of a leader that practiced professional and personal traits such as character, integrity and compassion for people better than Bob MacLea,” says Gene Smith, LPC, former president of the Loss Prevention Foundation. “Bob was an innovator, a mentor, a true LP industry leader and, most importantly, a friend to anyone in their time of need. There are countless stories of Bob lending his ear, his heart, his compassion and love for those experiencing life challenges. He loved our profession and was simply admired, respected and loved by everyone.”

Perhaps his close friend and former colleague Jim Lee, LPC, executive editor of LP Magazine, summed it up best:

“Bob felt very fortunate in what he had achieved in business and family and wanted to share and give back. I feel very fortunate that I knew this exceptional man. He enriched my life and was an example to follow for everyone he touched. Much has been chronicled about his accomplishments in work and family. I am so happy I did not miss the chance to tell him how much I loved him and how much he meant to me and others. Eternal thanks to you, Bob.”

Our sincerest gratitude to the entire MacLea family, and our congratulations to everyone within his extended family at TJX Companies as we celebrate Bob’s career and all of his life accomplishments. He will be deeply missed, but not forgotten.

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