Skinner Out, Siegel Back at Lacoste

Company blames Skinner’s departure on "differences with the board."

Robert Skinner Jr. has re­signed as chief executive officer of Devanlay U.S. Inc., the licensee for Lacoste branded apparel in the U.S., after less than two months on the job. The company attributed Skinner’s departure to “differences with the board,” but declined to elaborate.

Skinner will be replaced by his predecessor in the position, Robert Siegel, who retired as chairman and ceo at the end of 2008 after seven years with the company. During his tenure with Lacoste, Siegel, the former ceo of Stride Rite Corp., was credited with building revenues to $320 million a year from $30 million in 2002 and positioning Lacoste as a status brand, particularly in men’s wear, in the U.S.

Skinner served as ceo of Kellwood Co. for three years beginning in 2005. His tenure ended last July, five months after the St. Louis-based apparel firm was acquired by Sun Capital Partners Inc. He spent eight years at Kellwood after 13 years as president of Oxford Industries’ Oxford Shirt Group.

The end of Skinner’s time at Kellwood also marked Siegel’s departure from its board, which he joined in 2007.

Siegel had remained an independent director of Devanlay since his retirement. In addition to his time at Stride Rite, his career included a long tenure at Levi Strauss & Co., where he launched the Dockers brand and oversaw the men’s designer business. Prior to joining Lacoste, he served as managing director at Kurt Salmon Associates Inc.

“Bob Siegel has an outstanding track record building our company and the Lacoste brand in the U.S.,” said Guy Latourrette, president of Devanlay SA. “We are fortunate to have an executive of his caliber return to lead the company moving forward, and we expect a seamless transition.”

Siegel was 71 and Skinner 54 at the time of the latter’s appointment to the Lacoste job last September.