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Eddie Bauer on Tuesday named Michael R. Egeck president and chief executive officer.
This story first appeared in the June 6, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Egeck, 53, was most recently ceo at Hurley International, a division of Nike Inc. Before that, he was president at True Religion Apparel Inc. Prior to joining True Religion, he was president of VF Corp.’s Contemporary Brand Coalition.
In a telephone interview, Egeck said he was attracted to the Seattle-based Bauer post for a number of reasons: “I’ve been a customer of the Eddie Bauer brand most of my life. I grew up in Seattle and getting my first Eddie Bauer jacket was like a rite of passage.…Having grown up in Seattle, it’s nice to return home. All my family are still here, [along with] many friends.”
Egeck, whose work history includes stints at Seven For All Mankind, VF Corp.’s North American Outdoor business and The North Face, said he’s kept tabs on Eddie Bauer over the years.
“I’ve always observed the [Eddie Bauer] brand with both personal and professional interest as a customer and competitor. There were times when they lost their way. The current strategy is a return to their authentic outdoor roots. They have a great link to the Pacific Northwest lifestyle. It’s not about having to rethink that strategy — it’s the correct one. It’s now about some fine-tuning and more about execution,” Egeck said about his role as ceo.
There are also plans to open a few new stores, as well as possible international expansion, he said. The company already has a presence in Japan and Germany.
Josh Olshansky, managing director of Golden Gate Capital, the majority owner of Eddie Bauer, said of Egeck, “He is a proven leader with more than three decades of highly relevant sportswear, outdoor and specialty retail experience, and brings to Eddie Bauer an exceptional track record of growing brands, delivering strong operating performance and generating excellent financial results.”
David Chamberlain, executive chairman of Eddie Bauer, who served as interim ceo since February, will remain a member of the company’s board. Neil Fiske, the former ceo who led the retailer through a bankruptcy action, left the firm on March 2.
Eddie Bauer, which rings up $2 billion in sales a year, became a privately held company in 2009. Its products are carried at about 350 stores in North America, through catalogues and at eddiebauer.com. Golden Gate acquired the company through a bankruptcy court auction via a $286 million cash bid.