By  on May 13, 2008

Liz Claiborne Inc. is reassigning the duties of Jill Granoff, executive vice president of direct brands, who left the $4.58 billion company last month to become chief executive officer of Kenneth Cole Productions Inc.

Tom Fitzgerald, chief operating officer of direct brands, is being promoted to senior vice president of direct brands services. Retail operations and corporate marketing services for direct brands, which reported to Granoff, will be Fitzgerald's responsibility.

Lucky Brand and Juicy Couture, which also came under Granoff, will now report to Claiborne chief executive officer William L. McComb.

The outlet business had reported to Granoff, but McComb said the company is "taking this opportunity to unwind a centrally managed operation...and make it more brand focused," with outlets reporting to their corresponding individual brand management, rather than to a central executive.

Granoff was paid $1.4 million in 2007, and Claiborne does not plan to replace her position.

"In a year like this, it's very important to be careful with every dollar," McComb said. "Jill could have been here forever and been a good investment worth every penny, but now more and more of the positions we are putting in place are in the individual businesses, not corporate center."

Granoff joined Claiborne as group president of e-commerce in 2006, and was the lone group president promoted last year when McComb eliminated those positions. Group presidents Karen Murray, Susan Davidson and Susan Kellogg left the company in spring 2007, and the final remaining group president, Pamela Thomas-Graham, departed Claiborne at the end of 2007 and is now working in private equity, McComb said.

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