John De Meritt, chief executive officer and co-founder of Francesca’s Holdings Corp., is stepping out on a high note and ceding the top job to president Neill Davis.
De Meritt has been ceo since 2007 and took the company public in July 2011. He will stay on until the end of the year when Davis will take over. The incoming ceo joined Francesca’s board in 2007 and spent 15 years at The Men’s Wearhouse Inc., where he served as executive vice president as well as chief financial officer. Francesca’s chief operating officer Theresa Backes will also be moved up to president.
De Meritt is leaving to “pursue personal endeavors.” Greg Brenneman, non-executive chairman, praised the executive and said, “While we will miss John’s many talents, we understand and support his decision to begin a new chapter in his life.”
The ceo leaves a quickly growing chain in his wake.
Francesca’s said its second-quarter net income shot up 130.7 percent to $12.7 million, or 28 cents a diluted share, from $5.5 million, or 13 cents, a year earlier. Earnings per share came in 4 cents ahead of the 24 cents analysts expected.
Sales for the three months ended July 28 rose 49.1 percent to $76.4 million from $51.2 million and comparable-store sales gained 20.7 percent.
Investors looked past the numbers and to the executive suite. Francesca’s stock slipped 2.3 percent to $35.24 in afterhours trading, but were still up over 50 percent since the company’s IPO.