WWD.com/business-news/business-features/american-eagle-falls-on-president-8217-s-departure-1611908/

Shares of American Eagle Outfitters fell to a 52-week low on Friday after the company was downgraded on news that Susan P. McGalla, president and chief merchandising officer, will not renew her contract with the company.

American Eagle lost over 12 percent in morning trading, after Roxanne Meyer, retail analyst at Oppenheimer, downgraded the teen retailer to “perform” from “outperform.” In a research note, Meyer cited McGalla’s departure, fashion mistakes and the weak economy as the catalysts for the downgrade.

McGalla’s contract expires on Jan. 31, 2009. The company will conduct a search for a new chief merchandising officer.

“After 14 very rewarding years with American Eagle, I feel it’s time to move on to new challenges,” McGalla said. “I am grateful for the opportunity American Eagle has presented to me over the years and to such a talented team.”

For more, see Monday’s issue of WWD.