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AEO Exec Exits Company

Kathy Savitt, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of American Eagle Outfitters Inc., has left the firm.

Kathy Savitt, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of American Eagle Outfitters Inc., has left the firm.

American Eagle disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Friday that Savitt had entered into a separation agreement with the company that provided for, among other terms, a lump-sum severance payment of more than $1 million.

The move follows by one week the return to the American Eagle fold of Roger Markfield, former co-chief executive officer and chief merchandising officer, as vice chairman and executive creative director.

Savitt, a former vice president at Amazon.com, joined Pittsburgh-based American Eagle as executive vice president and chief marketing officer of the American Eagle brand in March 2006 and was promoted to her most recent corporate post one year later. She was widely credited with using nontraditional media, including tie-ins with musicians and sponsorship of a spa at the Sundance Film Festival, to increase the power and reach of the company’s namesake brand as well as its aerie and Martin + Osa offshoots.

But the company’s interest in breakthrough marketing may have been replaced by more practical concerns in recent months. AEO’s profits dipped 57 percent, to $42.6 million, during the third quarter on a 7 percent comparable-store sales slide. Results have only worsened in the fourth quarter as the firm reported an 11 percent decline in comps for November and, most recently, a 17 percent tumble in December.