Sun Capital Securities Group LLC, which acquired Kellwood for $762 million three months ago, is cutting executive posts — leaving the New York corporate office bare and the St. Louis headquarters grasping to hold onto staff who fear their jobs will be casualties of consolidation, according to sources.
Among those let go were Kellwood global president Jeff Streader, general counsel Thomas H. Pollihan, vice president of corporate communications Donna Weaver, and at least two New York-based strategic executives.
"Kellwood is making strategic and operational improvements to position the company for long-term growth and profitability," Jason Bernzweig, vice president of Sun Capital, said. "We believe these changes will benefit Kellwood's customers and employees. Kellwood has a strong portfolio of brands, as well as talented and committed employees, and we are investing in the company's future."
This news follows Sun's hiring of Russell Reynolds Associates Inc. to find a replacement for Kellwood chairman, chief executive officer and president Robert C. Skinner Jr.
Last year, Kellwood's board approved so-called "golden parachute" severance packages for most of its top executives, so these cuts are coming at a price for Sun.
Sources speculate the private equity firm is going to have a tough time finding a new ceo for the long-underperforming $1.6 billion vendor. Russell Reynolds has already approached several candidates about the job, but the pay Sun is offering does not measure up to the magnitude of the turnaround expected, according to sources.
Although Sun's specific intentions for Kellwood are unknown, sources said a ceo candidate needs to be financially adept, both to cut costs within Kellwood and to relate to its new private equity parent; have solid relationships with the midtier department stores to which Kellwood sells its predominately moderate portfolio, and come with retail experience, as Kellwood grows its direct-to-consumer arm, opening its first Vince store in Los Angeles this month.
At Kellwood's St. Louis headquarters, the accounts payable and receivables area is seeing an exodus of employees who fear that their division will be the next consolidated, as Sun restructures Kellwood to cut costs.
Sun has quietly shuttered several businesses in the last few weeks, including O Oscar, Liz Claiborne brand suits and dresses, and its moderate dress business.
Breaking: @cushnieetochs’ co-founders @carlycushnie and @ochsmichelle are parting ways. After a 10-year run, Ochs is leaving the brand. Get the full story on WWD.com – link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
@maybelline’s Kanako Takase had snow bunnies in mind when creating the beauty look for @philipppleininternational. Playing off of the bedazzled snowboards in the collection, Takase mixed two highlighters together for a luminous sheen. #wwdbeauty #nyfw (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
“There’s a huge gap between the old way of doing things and today. It takes the youth to help evolve that. You have to count on the kids today to help lead you into the future. A lot of these retailers are stuck in the past. Communication is the biggest thing,” said @ronniefieg of @kith on the youth’s role in retail. On Monday night, Jeff Staple moderated a keynote session with Fieg and @syresmith at Assembly - a series of workshops, talks and keynotes addressing topics or issues in the apparel industry. Head to WWD.com to read more advice from Fieg and what Smith thinks of his dad @willsmith’s Instagram account and sustainability (📷: @weston.wells)
@joansmalls closed the @michaelkors fall 2018 show in black sequined pants and a varsity T printed with 19 on the front and 81 on the back. 1981 – the year Kors went into business. #wwdfashion #nfyw (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
“You think your life is going to be a certain way, and nothing you thought would happen ends up happening. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be designing clothes and working with Mickey Drexler, and building something I’m deeply proud of,” said Jenna Lyons. Nine months after leaving @jcrew, Lyons is exploring the meaning of happiness. Read the interview, where Lyons talks about reinvention and more on WWD.com – link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Farrell) #jennalyons #jcrew