Ascena announces CEO transition
May 2, 2019
Ascena Retail Group, Inc., owner of Dressbarn, Ann Taylor and Lane Bryant, among others, has revealed that, after more than two decades at the company, David Jaffe is retiring from his role as chairman and CEO, effective Wednesday, May 1. Gary Muto will therefore take over as the company’s new CEO, while Carrie Teffner will step in as interim executive chair of the board of directors. Jaffe will continue to serve on the company’s board.
Muto first joined the retail group’s Ann Inc. subsidiary as president of Loft in 2008, before going on to lead the Ann Taylor, Loft and Lou & Grey brands from 2013. He most recently served as president and CEO of Ascena Brands, a role to which he was promoted in 2017 and which saw him drive top-line growth across the company’s brand portfolio.
Prior to Ascena, the graduate of St. John’s University held a range of leadership roles at Gap Inc. between 1998 and 2007, a period during which he also spearheaded the launch of the company’s now defunct Forth & Towne specialty brand.
When he steps into his new role as CEO, Muto will also join Ascena’s board of directors.
Teffner has been a member of the board since 2018, serving as chair of the audit committee, as well as a member of the compensation and stock incentive committee. Up until April of this year, she was EVP of finance and strategic projects at Crocs, Inc., having first joined the company’s board in June 2015, becoming its EVP and chief financial officer the next year.
Prior to this, she also filled the role of CFO at PetSmart, Stephen Products LLC and the Timberland Company. Teffner, who is also a member of the board of directors of GameStop Corp and holds a BS and an MBA from the University of Vermont, spent the first 21 years of her career at Sara Lee Corporation.
Due to her new appointment, she will step down from her committee positions. Chuck Rubin will therefore be taking over as chair of the audit committee, while Linda Yaccarino has been appointed as chair of the compensation and stock incentive committee.
“I am both honored and excited by this new challenge. David, Carrie, the board and I are working together to ensure the leadership transition is smooth,” said Muto in a release. “And, I am eager to lead and work with our Ascena associates, who share my deep commitment to our customers, brands and shareholders. Together we will realize Ascena’s potential as the board and management continue to execute on our previously announced strategic initiatives, including a comprehensive assessment of Ascena’s portfolio brands, operations, assets and continued cost savings.”
The Mahwah, New Jersey-based retailer, which reported net sales of $1.69 billion and a widening net loss of $72 million in Q2 2019, recently sold its majority stake in the Maurices brand for around $300 million as part of efforts to optimize its business.
On Wednesday, Ascena also announced the exit of President and COO Brian Lynch. No further details were provided concerning his departure.
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