- Marjorie van Elven |
Struggling retailer Rue21 has announced three new hires in its management team. Laurie Van Brunt has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer; Michele Pascoe has been named Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; and Stephen Sommers is the company’s new Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer.
Van Brunt is succeeding Michael Appel, who was named Interim Chief Executive Officer in October 2017, after the completion of a restructuring plan. Rue21 filed for bankruptcy protection in May 2017. Prior to joining Rue21, Van Brunt worked at Chico’s FAS Inc, where she was President of Soma Intimates since 2010. Sales of intimates increased from 87 million US dollars to 350 million US dollars during the period Van Brunt worked at Chico’s FAS. Earlier in her career, she has also served as Corporate Vice President, Director of Private Brand Management at J.C. Penney, between 2005 and 2010.
”We are very pleased to have Laurie join Rue21 to lead our management team. She is a proven results-oriented leader within all aspects of the business who has successfully led, built and turned around specialty store apparel brands. 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 Michael Appel in a statement. Appel will continue to serve as the chairman of Rue 21’s board.
Pascoe is joining Rue21 from Alvarez & Marsal, a financial consulting firm, where she provided financial advisory services for retail companies. Some of her previous roles include Chief Administration Officer and Chief Financial Officer at Marsh Supermarkets LLC; Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Charming Shoppes/Fashion Bug Division; and Chief Financial Officer at Rachel Ashwell Designs/Shabby Chic.
”Her innovative financial leadership in high volume, highly competitive multi-unit retail environments, and direct, hands-on experience will be invaluable as we move Rue21 financially and operationally to the next level”, said Appel about Pascoe.
Sommers is leaving his role as Chief Marketing Officer at Vineyard Vines, a retail and wholesale apparel brand with 100 stores across the United States. Prior to Vineyard Vines, he was Vice President Global Brand Marketing at Under Armour between 2012 and 2016. The sportswear apparel company grew from 1.5 billion to 5 billion during the period Sommers worked there.“Steve has the strong ability to create brands, drive growth, build teams and motivate talent. He has the ideal combination of creative marketing skills and savvy analytics to built the Rue brand and engage our target customers”, stated Appel.
Rue21 is an American fast fashion brand that focuses on teenagers. It currently operates 752 stores across the United States.