NEW YORK -- Robert Abajian has retired as senior vice president, sportswear design, at Liz Claiborne.

Abajian had been in charge of design direction for the company's $1.1 billion sportswear division since designer Liz Claiborne retired as chairman of the company in 1989.

A successor will not be named. Rather, under the direction of Linda Larsen German, president of the sportswear division, the design team of each separate segment of the division -- Collection, LizSport and LizWear -- will increase its responsibilities.

Abajian first joined Claiborne in 1984 as design director and, after a period away from the firm, rejoined it in 1987 as vice president of LizSport.

A veteran of 42 years in the apparel industry, Abajian, 62, was design director/merchandiser for College Town/Panther from 1980 to 1983 and spent 11 years before that as design director for Bobbie Brooks.

Abajian said while his plans are not firm, he plans to lecture at fashion schools and colleges.

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