Michael Weiss, who started with Express when it was an eight-store operation, will retire as CEO of the 600 plus-store specialty apparel company when its fiscal year ends on January 30, 2015.
He will be succeeded by David Kornberg, 46, president, who will assume the added role of chief executive. Weiss, 73, will remain with Express as nonexecutive chairman of the board.
Weiss started at Express in 1980, when it was an eight-store offshoot of Limited Brands, as merchandise manager. He became president in 1982, then CEO. He retired in 2004, only to return as chief executive in 2007 when Express was bought by Golden Gate Capital. Three years later, Express went public again.
“It's been a joy and a privilege to lead this incredible business since its inception 34 years ago," Weiss said. “I will be leaving Express in the hands of a deep and talented management team, and I am confident that under David's direction, the company will successfully evolve into an omnichannel brand.”
The change at the top comes at a pivotal time: In June, private-equity firm Sycamore Partners reported a 9.9% stake in Express and said it was interested in conducting due diligence that could lead to a buyout. Express has struggled recently, reporting a 10% drop in net sales and 11% drop in same-store sales for its first quarter.
Kornberg joined Express in 1999 and was named president in 2012. He began his career in the United Kingdom, at Marks & Spencer PLC. He briefly left Express in 2002 to serve as the VP of business development for Disney Stores and returned in 2003.