NEW YORK — Ann Taylor Stores Corp. is expected to announce soon a new head for its Ann Taylor division, and there’s speculation that Jerome Jessup, formerly with Gap, may be headed to the career women’s chain.

The president’s position has been open sinceKim Roy departed in January, but whether Jessup gets the top post is unclear. This year, there’s been a wave of high-level executive departures, particularly at specialty stores, giving Ann Taylor a wide pool of talent to choose from. Besides Jessup and Roy, Kathy Bronstein left as ceo of Wet Seal; H. James Metscher was ousted as chief merchandising officer at Talbots and Ken Pilot left J. Crew when Mickey Drexler stepped in as ceo. Also, Rob Bernard left Limited Stores last year, and former Jones president Jackwyn Nemerov is job hunting. All would be candidates for Ann Taylor.

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