By  on April 9, 2009

Joseph A. Oliver 3rd was fired Thursday as president and chief executive officer of S&K Famous Brands Inc., the bankrupt regional men’s specialty store chain.

Oliver said he received a phone call Thursday morning, while on vacation, from Stuart Siegel, chairman of the board and former ceo, and another board member informing him of the decision. He said Siegel and his family, founders of the chain in 1967, are putting together a bid to purchase the company out of bankruptcy and install Howard Rose, vice president of real estate at S&K and a nephew of Siegel’s, as ceo.

Jonathan M. Tibus of the turnaround firm of Alvarez & Marsal North America was installed as chief restructuring officer. Siegel will assume “an unpaid full-time executive position with the company” to provide support, S&K said.

The appointment of Tibus must be approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Alvarez & Marsal was hired by the company last July to serve as restructuring advisor. S&K filed for Chapter 11 on Feb. 9.

An S&K spokesman said neither Siegel nor Tibus was available to speak, and the spokesman declined to comment about Siegel’s reported attempt to acquire the company.

However, in a statement, the company said it recently paid off its secured debt by selling the headquarters building and retail store in Glen Allen, Va., and leasing back the location. S&K called the move “a key milestone in its restructuring” and said under the leadership of Tibus it will continue to seek “appropriate investors” to support its emergence from Chapter 11.

Oliver said he had been trying to put an offer together to purchase S&K, “but they let me know this was not welcome at this time.”

Oliver said he hoped the company can exit bankruptcy for the sake of the employees. “I would hate to see it disappear,” he said.

The former ceo had been with the company for three years and has served as chief executive for one-and-a-half years.

The 136-unit chain posted the first operating loss in its 42-year history — $3.9 million — in the fiscal year ended Feb. 2. Income had fallen to $2.8 million in the year ended Feb. 3, 2007, from $3.9 million in the previous year.

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