OPERATIONS

Nine retailers in search of a CEO

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The heat is on — in more ways than one. While Target’s search for a new chief executive has been much in the news, the discounter is not the only big retailer on the hunt for a chief executive. Here’s a brief review (all dates are 2014 except where noted):

1. Target Corp.: Thirty-five year company veteran Gregg Steinhafel, 59, stepped down in May. Target’s CFO John Mulligan is leading the discounter until a replacement is named.

2. J.C. Penney Co.: Myron “Mike” Ullman, 67, was called back to head the company after Ron Johnson was ousted in 2013. Ullman is technically not an interim CEO, but it’s no secret the company is looking for a permanent chief.

3. American Eagle Outfitters: Since Robert Hanson, 51, resigned in January, executive chairman Jay Schottenstein has been serving as interim CEO. Hanson joined American Eagle in January 2012 after 23 years at Levi Strauss & Co.

4. Bebe stores: Steve Birkhold resigned in June, and the board named Jim Wiggett, who has been advising the struggling apparel retailer, as interim CEO. Birkhold was appointed CEO of Bebe in January 2013. Before that, he had been president and CEO of Lacoste North America since 2010.

5. The Bon Ton Stores: Brendan L. Hoffman, 45, plans to step down as chief executive of the department store company in 2015, three years after taking the job. Prior to Bon-Ton, Hoffman served as CEO of Lord & Taylor.

6. Dollar General Corp.: Rick Dreiling, 60, will retire next year, staying on as CEO until May 30, 2015 or until the appointment of a successor. Dreiling served as chairman, president and CEO of New York-based Duane Reade prior to taking the helm of Dollar General in 2008.

7. American Apparel: Controversial founder, chairman and CEO Dov Charney, 45, was ousted by the board in June. John Luttrell, American Apparel’s executive VP and chief financial officer, is acting as interim CEO.

8. Gordmans Stores: Jeff Gordman resigned in March. T. Scott King, chairman, is serving as interim CEO. Gordman, whose great grandfather founded the predecessor company nearly 100 years ago, joined Gordmans in 1990 and was named president and CEO in 1996.

9. L.L. Bean: Chris McCormick, 58, the Maine-based company’s first leader from outside the Gorman family in its 102-year history, plans to retire in March 2016 after what will be 15 years as CEO and 33 years with Bean. Now that’s called giving advance notice!

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Sears Holdings names general counsel

BY Staff Writer

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Holdings announced today that Kristin M. Coleman will join the company as senior VP, general counsel and corporate secretary. Coleman most recently served as Brunswick Corporation’s VP, general counsel and corporate secretary.

Coleman will be responsible for the oversight and leadership of Sears Holdings’ legal business.

"I am pleased Kristin is joining our leadership team. She is a proven leader with experience managing legal, compliance and corporate governance issues," said Edward S. Lampert, Sears Holdings chairman and CEO. "Having started her career as a litigator and transitioning into corporate law, she brings a breadth and depth of experience to Sears Holdings in litigation and governance, including mergers and acquisitions and securities, which will serve us well as we continue on our path to transform the company."

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West Elm opens Indian fair trade rug factory; Bill Clinton visits

BY Dan Berthiaume

Brooklyn, N.Y. – In partnership with its largest rug supplier, Raj Overseas, West Elm has established a fair trade certified factory for handcrafted rugs in India. Fair trade certification ensures that the rugs are made in safe working conditions and that workers are justly compensated, delivering a premium back to the worker to invest in causes of their choice.

Employees at the West Elm fair trade factory have chosen to fund additional healthcare coverage. Fair trade certified rugs will be available this holiday season at West Elm retail locations and on its e-commerce site.

President Clinton recently visited West Elm’s corporate headquarters in Brooklyn to view West Elm’s work to support artisans around the world and offer handcrafted products under the brand’s 2013 Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action.

Additional projects and progress under West Elm’s consciousness initiatives and CGI Commitment to Action include:

  • In 2013, West Elm committed to purchasing $35 million in handcrafted products during the next two years. The brand has nearly met this goal in one year.
  • West Elm is building a network of artisan makers and currently working with more than 35 artisan groups in 15 countries. More than half of the artisans West Elm works with are women. The brand makes long-term commitments of three to five years to each maker.
  • To further support artisans, West Elm recently launched an adult literacy initiative in Haiti in partnership with the Clinton Foundation and ProDev, teaching artisans reading, writing, financial literacy, and vocational training. The brand hopes to replicate the program with additional vendors and in other countries, including the Philippines.
  • In August, West Elm will launch the We Love Local Small Business Grant as the next phase of its West Elm Local program. The grant, which will be awarded by West Elm with feedback from customers through online public voting, will go to one U.S. based small business and includes a $25,000 cash prize and ongoing business support from West Elm.

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