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Warnaco’s McCluskey Adds Swim Oversight

The Warnaco Group Inc. is expanding group president of intimate apparel Helen McCluskey's responsibilities to include its global swim businesses.

The Warnaco Group Inc. is expanding group president of intimate apparel Helen McCluskey’s responsibilities to include its global swim businesses.

At Warnaco since 2004, McCluskey will assume management over swim brands including Speedo, Anne Cole, Ocean Pacific, Nautica, Calvin Klein and Michael Kors.

Roger Williams resigned from the post in January, and since then, Paula Schneider, president of designer swimwear, has been leading Warnaco’s swim brands, with the exception of Speedo, which had been led by Sheree Waterson, president of Speedo North America.

WWD learned that Warnaco let go of Waterson on Tuesday. Warnaco declined to comment on her departure, and she could not be reached. Waterson joined Speedo in 2005 from Levi Strauss & Co., where she was vice president of women’s apparel. Earlier she held executive posts at Wet Seal, Contempo Casuals and Mervyns.

The Warnaco swim division’s growth — a 2.3 percent net revenue gain from fiscal year 2005 to 2006 — has lagged behind intimates (at 11.3 percent) and sportswear (at 54 percent), and the company said it is hoping to see McCluskey’s success in intimates carry over into swimwear.

Before joining the New York-based Warnaco, McCluskey served for three years as group president of the moderate women’s sportswear division at Liz Claiborne Inc., and before that, had an 18-year career at Sara Lee, including serving as president of Playtex Apparel.

Based in New York, McCluskey reports to Joe Gromek, Warnaco’s president and chief executive officer.

&”Helen has been instrumental in driving the success of our intimate apparel brands,” Gromek said in a statement. &”We believe our swimwear businesses will benefit greatly from Helen’s leadership and strategic vision, and we look forward to her continued contributions in this expanded role.”

This story first appeared in the June 13, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.