Taking a step that leaves the management of its Juicy Couture unit inlimbo, Liz Claiborne Inc. has moved Edgar Huber from the post of chiefexecutive officer of Juicy to a new position as executive vice presidentof global business development for the entire company.
Themove means that LeAnn Nealz, who joined Juicy as president and chiefcreative officer in September from a similar post at American EagleOutfitters Inc., and John DeFalco, the chief financial officer and chiefoperations officer, “will jointly manage the Juicy Couture businesswhile the leadership structure for the brand going forward isdetermined,” the company said.
Nealz and DeFalco will report toWilliam L. McComb, ceo of Liz Claiborne, and Huber will continue to doso. Huber’s title at Juicy shifted to ceo from president upon Nealz’sarrival.
The reassignment of Huber effectively drags thequestions pertaining to Juicy’s management into a second year.Co-founders Gela Nash-Taylor and Pamela Skaist-Levy relinquishedday-to-day responsibility for the brand in January 2010 and plan tolaunch a new label this year upon expiration of their non-competeagreement.
Culminating a four-year search, Huber joined Juicyas president in 2008 after 16 years with L’Oréal, most recently asmanaging director of major markets. At L’Oréal, he served as presidentof Kiehl’s Since 1851 beginning in 2002 and was credited with expandingthe brand’s retail network from two stores to more than 60.
“Edgar’sconsiderable experience in global licensing and business developmentwill bring focused oversight to, and accelerate, our internationalefforts, many under way already, in 2011,” McComb commented.
Juicy,McComb added, opened 46 stores and entered numerous internationalpartnerships during Huber’s tenure.
However, Juicy’s retailresults hit a rough patch in December. Comparable-store sales, includinge-commerce revenues, rose 3 percent in October and 9 percent inNovember before falling 5 percent in the year’s final month, reducingthe fourth-quarter comp to an increase of 1 percent and contributing to alowering of fourth-quarter guidance by the company on Jan. 6. McCombcited reduced traffic and fashion misses for “comparable sales and grossprofit in December at Juicy Couture, Lucky Brand and Mexx Europe thatwere clearly disappointing.”
Also in January, Kate Foster,Juicy’s vice president of global marketing and communications, left thefirm.
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