r21 Holdings, Inc. announced the formation of its reorganized Board of Directors and has named Michael Appel Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer.
Mr. Appel is assuming responsibilities from Melanie Cox, Interim Chief Executive Office since April 2017, who is resigning upon the completion of the successful restructuring of the company. The Board has initiated a national search for a permanent CEO.
Mr. Appel is a highly-regarded senior level retail and consumer goods executive with exceptional depth and diversity of background in Department Stores (Bloomingdale's and Fortunoff), off-price (Loehmann's) and multi- unit specialty retail (Laura Ashley, Lane Bryant, Caswell Massey, Wilkes Bashford, MacKenzie Childs, and Baccarat). He has had direct supervisory responsibility for every functional area within a retail operation, extensive international sourcing capability, and hands-on experience across multiple merchandise categories including apparel, home furnishings and accessories.
In making the announcement of rue21's new Board of Directors, Mr. Appel said, "This is a very impressive group of directors-- one that any major retailer would be proud to have provide leadership and direction. With experience in all facets of retailing, I feel confident that they will help us to position rue21 for our next chapter of growth and expansion."
The new Board members include:
Sean Britain is Managing Director at H.I.G. Bayside Capital. His prior experience includes roles at Apax Partners, Saunders Karp & Megrue, and First Union Securities.
Robert J. Corliss is Chairman/CEO of Robert Talbott, Inc., and CRO and Trustee of Movie Gallery/Hollywood Video. Mr. Corliss previously served as CEO/Vice Chairman of Friedman's Jewelers, CEO/President of the Athlete's Foot, and CEO/President of Herman's Sporting Goods.
John Fleming has served as CEO Global eCommerce at Uniqlo, EVP Chief Merchandising Officer at Walmart, EVP Chief Marketing Officer at Walmart, and COO/CEO, of Walmart.com., and SVP Merchandising at Dayton Hudson
Jennifer Gosselin is SVP of Merchandising at Minted. She previously consulted for Amazon, served as SVP & GM at Piperlime, DMM of Merchandising at Old Navy, and Senior Director of Merchandising at Walmart.com.
Larry Meyer has served as CEO & Group Officer at Uniqlo U.S.A., EVP at Forever 21, CFO at Gymboree, CFO at Toys "R" Us, Director of Planning at PepsiCo, and CFO at Nielsen Marketing Research.
Mr. Appel continued, "On behalf of the Board of Directors of rue21, we are grateful for Melanie's leadership in taking the company through an orderly and successful Chapter 11 reorganization. With Melanie at the helm, rue21 exceeded its financial goals and stabilized relationships with both the factor and vendor communities. I look forward to working with her in the coming weeks while she assists in the orderly transition of her duties and responsibilities."
Ms. Cox remarked: "I am very pleased with the outcome of the restructuring. The senior leadership team and all our team members worked tirelessly to create a sustainable long-term business model and preserve 15,000 jobs. I am proud of all that was accomplished and am immensely thankful for all of our business partners who supported us throughout the process."
rue21 also announced today the appointment of Dr. Mark Chrystal to its executive team as Chief Analytics Officer. Dr. Chrystal will lead the analytics strategy, planning and allocation, and information technology teams for the company.
Dr. Chrystal most recently served as Chief Supply Chain Officer for David's Bridal, and formerly held the position of SVP of e-Commerce and Planning and Allocation at rue21. Additionally, he has led analytics and planning departments for retailers including American Eagle, The Disney Store, and Victoria's Secret. Reporting to Interim CEO Michael Appel, he will focus his expertise on driving rue21's holistic analytics direction across all company platforms.
rue21, a leading teen specialty retailer, believes that fashion plays an important role in the journey to self-discovery. Choose a style, make it your own. You're an individual, and you need fresh, feel-good pieces that let you totally own it. That's why the retailer works to make the latest trends affordable and available to anyone. Its mission is to make fashion everyone's playground. Headquartered just north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, rue21 currently operates 758 stores in 45 states in shopping malls, outlets and strip centers, and on its website. For more information, visit www.rue21.com. The freedom to be you is rue!