By  on August 22, 2007

Liz Claiborne Inc. has named Tom Fitzgerald, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp., as chief operating officer of direct brands, a new post.

Fitzgerald, 46, will head the operations side for brands that have been identified as the growth engine of the $4.99 billion vendor. The appointment is effective Sept. 24. Fitzgerald will support the Lucky Brand Jeans, Kate Spade, Juicy Couture and outlet businesses, and will partner with Mexx executives. He will oversee retail store rollout, seek to enhance store operating effectiveness and improve retail supply chain capabilities, as well as help implement retail-based systems to increase operating efficiency.

Chief executive officer William L. McComb in June divided Claiborne's portfolio between direct brands and partnered brands. The direct brands — another term for the vendor's "power brands" — will receive the majority of the company's attention and funding, while 16 of the partnered brands have been placed under review with the intention to sell them.

Before working at Burlington Coat Factory, Fitzgerald held leadership posts at Limited Brands Inc. in the Bath & Body Works division, where he served as the $2.5 billion division's chief operating officer. Fitzgerald spent the first 16 years of his career at PepsiCo Inc.

Fitzgerald will report to Michael Scarpa, chief operating officer of the company, and will work closely with Jill Granoff, executive vice president of direct brands. He will be based in New York.

"In July, we unveiled our strategic plan and our emphasis on our direct brands as an engine for future growth," Scarpa said in a statement. "Enhancing and evolving our operational capabilities is an important part of that strategy, and we are pleased to have someone of Tom's level of experience taking on this position."

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