By  on August 21, 2009

BERLIN — Escada AG’s chief executive officer Bruno Sälzer and chief operating officer Werner Lackas have sold their stakes in the German fashion house.

According to the company, Sälzer and his wife sold about 286,000 shares for 229,000 euros, or about $326,000 at current exchange. When Sälzer assumed the top post at Escada in July 2008, he and his wife reportedly paid about 3 million euros, or $4.7 million at that time, for the shares, which equal a stake of about 1 percent. Lackas sold 100,960 shares.

The executives sold their shares to avoid any conflict of interest as shareholders in future talks with potential investors. “If a solution is reached in the next couple of weeks, someone could say I pushed, as a shareholder, in a particular direction,” Sälzer told WWD. “And if a possible investor wants my business model, it’s best not to be a shareholder.”

In addition, from the bondholder side, “it was always a problem that they thought I was very close to the Herz brothers [Wolfgang and Michael, who are major shareholders]. Now I have one hat on, and I’m interested to keep it on,” the ceo said.

Despite reports of interested parties, it is much too early for any kind of talks, an Escada spokesman emphasized. One week after filing for insolvency, the administrator is concentrating on stabilizing the business and gaining an overview of the company’s situation. The next step, the spokesman said, is talks with potential investors.

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