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Nancy Shachtman Leaves Guess Post

Executive spent nearly 27 years with the firm and served as president of North America.

Guess Inc. lost its third key executive in less than five months Tuesday with the departure of Nancy Shachtman, who for the past two years had held the post of president of North America with responsibility for wholesale and retail operations.

Shachtman’s departure ends a nearly 27-year association with Guess. In November, the company said that Dennis Secor and Michael Prince had resigned as chief financial officer and chief operating officer, respectively.

Joining the firm in 1986, Schactman became president of Guess wholesale operations in late 1998 but left the company in 2002 as it made the transition to its current emphasis on its own stores. She returned to again head wholesale later in the year and took responsibility for all North American operations in 2011, reporting to Paul Marciano, chief executive officer.

Analysts, on average, expect Guess to have nearly a $10 million increase in revenues, to $785.6 million, for the fourth quarter, while earnings are expected to decline to 87 cents a diluted share from $1.05 in the final quarter of 2011. Shares of Guess dropped $1.19, or 4.2 percent, to close at $27.39 Tuesday as word of Schactman’s departure spread, seen as a sign that fourth-quarter results might be softer than expected.

“My sense is that they had a very tough holiday quarter, even tougher than they anticipated going into it,” said Jeff Van Sinderen, analyst at B. Riley & Co. “I think they really struggled and that may have something to do with this — a lot of moving parts and a fair amount of turnover.”

With Guess’ reliance on North American retail, which accounted for 41.7 percent of third-quarter revenues, it’s likely that its many mall stores had a “slow start” in the first quarter as well, although conditions “appear a little better now.”

The company continues to seek a new cfo as Nigel Kershaw, vice president of finance and accounting, fills that post on an interim basis. The firm doesn’t plan to name a successor to Prince as chief operating officer. Secor has since joined Fossil Inc. as executive vice president and cfo.

The company declined comment on Tuesday but said it would provide information on recent developments and its expected date to report fourth-quarter results today.