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Eddie Bauer names president

BY Marianne Wilson

Eddie Bauer has promoted an insider to lead the brand.

The specialty outdoor retailer named Damien Huang as president. He was most recently Eddie Bauer’s senior VP of merchandising & design. In his new role, Huang will oversee the design, merchandising, marketing, retail, e-commerce, licensing, international, and wholesale functions of the business. He will report to Mike Egeck, CEO of PSEB, the new operating company composed of Eddie Bauer and PacSun.

“He [Huang] has played a pivotal role in the transition of the Eddie Bauer business into a performance outdoor brand – and it comes as no surprise that performance product has grown at a double digit rate over the last five years under his leadership,” said Egeck. “His passion for the outdoors and his knowledge in building award-winning product will ensure that Eddie Bauer continues its strong momentum.”

Huang joined Eddie Bauer in March 2010 as senior VP of outerwear, accessories, and gear. He has held multiple senior product positions while at the company.

Eddie Bauer also announced that Mike Africa has been named VP of commerce, having responsibility for both the retail and e-commerce businesses.

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Chico’s FAS exec takes top role at Rue21

BY Marianne Wilson

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

BY Marianne Wilson

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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