By and  on March 12, 2002

NEW YORK -- Turning the page in one of Seventh Avenue's longest success stories, Sidney Kimmel said Monday he will step down as chief executive officer of Jones Apparel Group in May, 32 years after founding the sportswear giant.

Succeeding Kimmel at the $4 billion firm will be Peter Boneparth, president and ceo of the firm's moderate division, who has been named president of the firm and will become ceo following the company's annual meeting May 22. Jackwyn Nemerov, who had been president and chief operating officer, has resigned.

But Kimmel, who will remain chairman, said he's not getting ready for retirement.

"It's very simple. I worked with Jacki as president and now I'll work with Peter as president, but my day-to-day duties will not change," Kimmel said. "He will just make my life a little easier and I hope we work together as a team. But I have no plans to retire ...maybe when I'm 90. What this does is answer the question of succession within the company.

"I'm looking forward to the change Peter will bring -- a young spirit to the company. And as long as he continues to embrace the spirit that made Jones successful for the past 32 years, I'm more than delighted."

Kimmel even declined to say that the change in titles will allow him more time to devote to his philanthropic endeavors. At 74, he's touted as Philadelphia's biggest philanthropist, having contributed some $200 million to medical research, $5 million to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and additional millions to other institutions and charities. He also owns a movie studio -- whose credits include "9 1/2 Weeks" and "Blame It on Rio."

There's even a Performing Arts Center named after him -- the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in his home town Philadelphia -- to which he gave $30 million to build.

"I do most of my philanthropic work on weekends and in my spare time," he said. "Just my day-to-day will be lessened."

Nemerov could not be reached for comment.

Boneparth, 42, a former investment banker and lawyer who joined McNaughton Apparel Group in 1997 as president and chief operating officer and later became ceo, said he's looking forward to the increased responsibilities -- such as learning about better sportswear, which Nemerov oversaw -- and to working closely with Kimmel. Jones purchased McNaughton Apparel last year.

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