5 Brands Looking for Leaders

By: Melissa Campanelli

Get your resumes ready! A recent article that appeared in Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) identified five big-name retailers that are on the hunt for new CEOs. The companies are Abercrombie & Fitch Co., American Eagle Outfitters Inc., Iconix Brand Group Inc., Chico’s FAS Inc. and Vince Holding Corp.

Since all of you may not have access to WWD, I thought I’d pass the info along. Here goes:

Abercrombie & Fitch
Filling In: Arthur Martinez, executive chairman
Corner Office: Vacant since December
Former CEO: Michael Jeffries

“Gen X might have come of age with images of stripped Abercrombie & Fitch models, but the younger generation now targeted by the brand has been looking for something a little less in-your-face. While Martinez banished the beefcakes made famous by Jeffries, the brand’s former lodestar, just how much the retailer changes will be determined by the next CEO.”

American Eagle Outfitters
Filling In: Jay Schottenstein, executive chairman and interim CEO
Corner Office: Vacant since January 2014
Former CEO: Robert Hanson

“American Eagle is starting to get some of its mojo back — first quarter comparable store sales rose 7 percent after a 10 percent drop a year earlier — but it’s doing so with the help of Schottenstein, who previously served as CEO of the teen chain for a decade. Schottenstein has served as interim CEO for more than a year-and-a-half, and while the company’s looking for someone to lead it into its next chapter, Schottenstein is clearly in charge.”

Iconix Brand Group
Filling In: Peter Cuneo, chairman and interim CEO
Corner Office: Vacated in August
Former CEO: Neil Cole

“Iconix made its name buying and then licensing out brands as diverse as Badgley Mischka, London Fog, Ocean Pacific and Ecko Unltd., building up sales, but not inventory. Now the company’s hit a rough patch — very rough, with everything from declining sales and lawsuits to inquires from the Securities and Exchange Commission — and Cole is out, serving as a “special adviser” until the end of September. Leading for now is Cuneo, who previously led Marvel Entertainment.”

Chico’s FAS
Outgoing CEO: David Dyer
Timing: In May, Dyer revealed plans to retire next spring.
Transition: Dyer will shift to vice chairman when a replacement is named

“Dyer jumped into the maw of the financial crisis and took the reins of Chico’s in January 2009, boosting the firm’s sales by more than $1 billion, to $2.7 billion last year. The retailer, which operates Chico’s, White House | Black Market, Soma Intimates and Boston Proper, has built a chain of 1,552 doors by courting the 35-and-older crowd. However, it’s in the midst of some rightsizing and said in February it would shutter about 120 stores over three years.”

Vince
Outgoing CEO: Jill Granoff
Transition: Granoff resigned in July, but is remaining the CEO through a transition period

“Granoff described her decision to pass the reins at Vince as ‘bittersweet.’ Shareholders were just bitter and took the abrupt departure as a sign of trouble, sending the stock down 18.7 percent the following day. The pressure has been growing at the contemporary brand, which has 2,500 points of wholesale distribution, 32 stores and 10 outlets, and has seen its stock lose about two-thirds of its value since going public in 2013. Sun Capital Partners still owns a majority of Vince, and things started to seem amiss when co-CEO of Sun Capital Marc Leder succeeded Granoff as chairman in June, just before the company lowered its outlook for the year.”

Some great options out there to choose from! Good luck!

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