Express Inc. chief executive officer Michael Weiss has set his second retirement date at the company.
Weiss will retire as ceo on Jan. 30. He will continue as non-executive chairman. Succeeding Weiss will be David Kornberg, who will also continue in his role as the firm’s president. Kornberg will join the company’s board upon assuming the role of ceo.
Weiss began his career with Express more than 30 years ago when he joined the eight-store experimental division of Limited Brands in 1980 as its merchandise manager. He became president in 1982, and later ceo. He retired for the first time in 2004, but returned to the company in 2007 when the firm was acquired by private equity firm Golden Gate Capital. He became chairman in 2011.
During his second tour of duty, the retailer has launched its e-commerce platform, opened international franchise locations and entered Canada. It also has opened its first outlet store business.
Weiss said, “It’s been a joy and a privilege to lead this incredible business since its inception 34 years ago.”
He said he was confident that under Kornberg’s leadership the company will evolve into an omnichannel brand. He also noted that since he will continue as chairman, he’ll “continue supporting the execution of the company’s strategic plan.”
Express is the latest company to separate out the positions of ceo and chairman. Tiffany & Co. also is following that trend upon the retirement of ceo Michael J. Kowalski, who will continue as non-executive chairman, come April 1. Earlier this year, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. named Arthur Martinez as its non-executive chairman, while Michael Jeffries remains as ceo. Shortly after his appointment as chairman, Martinez said of the separation of the chairman and ceo roles: “It is a trend, as statistically about 20 to 25 percent of the S&P 500 firms have separated the roles.” He noted that regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank have firms looking more carefully at corporate governance principles today.
Kornberg joined Express in 1999. He was named president in 2012, assuming direction of men’s and women’s merchandising and design and, later, also taking on responsibility for U.S. store operations. He began his career at Marks & Spencer. He briefly left Express in 2002 to serve as vice president of business development for Disney Stores, and returned to the company’s fold in 2003.
Kornberg said of Weiss, “Michael is a legend in this industry and is recognized for his legacy of innovation. His vision, passion and energy have positioned us to thrive in a quickly evolving industry.”
In June, Express became an acquisition target of private equity firm Sycamore Partners. The New York-based private equity firm paid $106.2 million to acquire 8.3 million shares, or a 9.9 percent stake, of the retailer, and informed the company that it would like to acquire the balance of the shares it doesn’t already own. Sycamore’s two key principals are familiar with the teen retailer’s operations. They were at Golden Gate Capital when the San Francisco-based firm acquired its interest in the retailer.
The teen retailer went public in 2010. Neither Golden Gate nor Limited own stakes in Express anymore.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast