• PROXY TOLL: Nautica Enterprises expects to spend up to $1 million to fight a proxy battle against a group of dissident shareholders. The New York-based firm already has spent $200,000 opposing the investment group, according to a supplement to its proxy statement that Nautica filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Monday. While supporting reelection of Nautica chief executive Harvey Sanders and vice chairman David Chu, the investor group, led by Barington Companies Equity Partners, last week nominated three of its own directors — William Fox, James Mitarotonda and former Macy’s West chief Michael Steinberg — to replace other incumbent directors, including designer John Varvatos, and explore ways to enhance shareholder value, including a possible sale of the firm. Consulting company MacKenzie Partners has been hired by Nautica to help solicit proxies and will be paid between $50,000 and $125,000, according to the supplement. Barington is using D.F. King and Georgeson Shareholder Communications to help it solicit proxies, according to its own SEC filing made last Tuesday. Mitarotonda and Seymour Holtzman, two executives associated with the Barington group, helped oust boards at Liquid Audio and the Casual Male, formerly Designs Inc. Proxies will be tallied at Nautica’s annual meeting, scheduled to be held in New York on July 8.

  • ST. JOHN STRATEGY: St. John Knits International Inc. has named Robin Orlick Bull to the new post of senior vice president of strategic planning and licensing. Bull reports to Kelly Gray and Bruce Fetter, co-chief executives of Irvine, Calif.-based St. John. She oversees worldwide licensing and the company’s push into new product sectors — possibly eyewear, intimates and fragrances — and other ventures for its brands. Most recently, Bull served as interim chief financial officer for Dolce & Gabbana USA. Past positions also include her role as senior vice president of licensing for Calvin Klein Inc. and a consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers’s Management Horizons consulting organization.

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