Chico’s FAS exec takes top role at Rue21
Changes are afoot at teen apparel retailer Rue 21, which has appointed a new CEO, along with a new chief marketing office and CFO.
The teen apparel retailer named Laurie Van Brunt as president and CEO, effective June 25, 2018. She succeeds Michael C. Appel who was named interim chief executive in October 2017. (He will continue to serve as chairman.) Her appointment follows a search that the company initiated when it exited bankruptcy in September.
Van Brunt joins the 752-store Rue 21 from Chico’s FAS, where she was president of Soma Intimates from 2010 to 2017, during which time sales grew from $87 million to $350 million
Prior to Chico’s, Van Brunt was corporate VP, director of private brand management at J. C. Penney Company, from 2005 to 2010, where she managed the company’s private brand portfolio of 22 brands across all merchandise categories. Earlier in her career, she served in senior management roles at Chadwick’s of Boston, and the Lane Bryant division of The Limited.
In other appointments, Rue 21 named Stephen Sommers as senior VP and chief marketing officer. Most recently, Sommers was chief marketing officer at Vineyard Vines. Prior to Vineyard Vines, he was VP global brand marketing from 2012 to 2016.
Also, Rue21 selected Michele Pascoe as senior VP and CFO, succeeding Stephen Coulombe who was named interim finance head in March 2018.
Pascoe joins rue21 from Alvarez & Marsal, a financial consulting firm. Prior to Alvarez and Marsal, from 2013-2017, Pascoe was chief administration officer and CFO of privately held grocery chain Marsh Supermarkets. From 2009 to 2013, Pascoe was senior VP and CFO of Charming Shoppes/ Fashion Bug division.
“With our increased financing in place, Laurie’s leadership, our new senior team, and the utilization of innovative data analytics to drive our business, we are confident that rue21 will be an even stronger brand that delivers outstanding growth and profit,” said Rue21 chairman Apple.
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Petco CEO departs; replacement named
Petco Animal Supplies Inc. has tapped a tech executive as its new chief executive.
Petco named Ron Coughlin as CEO, effective June 18, replacing Brad Weston who has had the job since February 2016. Coughlin joins Petco from HP Inc., where he served for 11 years, most recently as president of Personal Systems.
Prior to joining HP, Coughlin spent 12 years at PepsiCo in a range of senior executive roles, including chief marketing officer of PepsiCo International Beverages.
“Ron has outstanding leadership experience with a consistent track record of driving strong growth and transformation at consumer-facing organizations,” said Christopher Stadler, managing Partner of CVC Capital Partners, which acquired Petco in a $4.6 billion buyout in February. “For the last 25 years, he has worked closely with the world’s top physical and online retailers.”
Petco’s departing CEO, Weston, joined the company in 2011 as president and chief merchant. He became CEO in February 2016
“We are greatly appreciative of the many valuable contributions that Brad Weston has made to Petco,” said Cameron Breitner, partner of CVC. “He is a very talented executive who has helped to establish a strong foundation for Petco’s bright future, and we are confident he will be successful in his future endeavors.”
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Gap names former Billabong, Eddie Bauer chief to head up namesake brand
A three-time retail executive has joined the senior ranks at Gap Inc.
The apparel giant appointed Neil Fiske as president and chief executive of its Gap brand, effective June 20, replacing Jeff Kerwin, who left in February. He will also serve on the company’s senior leadership team.
Most recently, Fiske served as CEO of Billabong International, where he led the brand’s return to a multi-year share growth. He left in April amid a management shuffle following the company’s acquisition by Boardriders.
Prior to joining Billabong in 2013, Fiske spent five years as president and CEO at Eddie Bauer. He was also chief executive of Bath and Body Works.
“Neil brings significant retail and apparel experience to Gap Inc. and a track record of transforming and repositioning brands,” stated Gap CEO Art Peck. “He is an experienced leader who deeply understands the mechanics of this business, the value of an omnichannel strategy, and the need to build a progressive and relevant brand. I believe Neil is the right leader to strengthen Gap brand.”