By  on September 17, 2007

Liz Claiborne Inc. alums Denise Seegal and Karen Murray have reunited at VF Sportswear Inc.

Seegal, president and chief executive officer of the VF Corp. division, has hired Murray as president of Nautica men's sportswear and Nautica Jeans Co.

Murray left Claiborne — where she worked for 15 years, most recently as group president of men's wear, midtier, international alliances and licensing — in February when Claiborne's new ceo William L. McComb eliminated the group president position as part of his corporate realignment.

"I have had many flattering offers, but Nautica is a brand that I have always respected," Murray said. "I am very excited about joining not just the Nautica brand but also VF Corp."

Murray and Seegal worked together at Claiborne from 1996 to 2000, when Seegal served as president of the vendor, which has struggled with earnings of late while VF has boomed. When news of Murray's departure from Claiborne broke in February, analysts noted a competitor could hire Murray and capitalize on her relationships.

"While I was president of Liz Claiborne Inc. and Karen was group president of Claiborne men's wear, I was impressed with her strong leadership skills, her strong retail relationships and her ability to develop brands, understand the consumer and develop product that is appropriate," Seegal said. "When I read the news [of Murray's exit from Claiborne], I thought of her. But this is really about where the Nautica brand is and how to accelerate our growth. I think that Karen's experience in the men's wear industry is an appropriate fit for us."

Based in New York, Murray replaces Chris Heyn, who has left "to pursue new career opportunities," according to VF Corp.

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