The Wet Seal Inc. named Susan P. McGalla chief executive officer, succeeding Ed Thomas.

McGalla signed a contract with the juniors and contemporary sportswear retailer that extends to Aug. 8, 2014. She will start her new job on Tuesday and is expected to relocate by August to Southern California, where Wet Seal is based. In the meantime, she will remain in Pittsburgh, where McGalla worked at American Eagle Outfitters Inc. for 14 years, last serving as president and chief merchandising officer until early 2009.

Hal Kahn, Wet Seal’s chairman, said McGalla can “opportunistically navigate these challenging times and position Wet Seal for future success.…Susan brings proven specialty retail merchandising and corporate leadership talent to our company, having led all creative functions, in addition to new brand development, at American Eagle Outfitters during a sustained period of growth in sales productivity, store base and market capitalization.”

Wet Seal, based in Foothill Ranch, Calif., operates 452 Wet Seal and 84 Arden B. stores.

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