By and  on January 28, 2002

NEW YORK -- John Kourakos has one last interview to get past before he starts his next job -- and it's with Richard Bohanon, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge.

Kourakos is set to join The Warnaco Group Inc. as president of sportswear, if he's approved at a Tuesday hearing, according to court papers. Warnaco's sportswear group includes Calvin Klein women's, men's and children's jeans, Chaps by Ralph Lauren and the ABS by Allen B. Schwartz line.

It wouldn't be his first tour of duty at Warnaco's licensed Calvin Klein business. From 1994 to 1996, he served as president of Warnaco's Calvin Klein Underwear and Men's Accessories units. He joined Warnaco after an eight-year tenure at Calvin Klein Inc.

If the hiring is approved, it would mark one of the biggest personnel moves that chief executive officer Antonio (Tony) C. Alvarez Jr. has made since taking the reins from Linda Wachner in November.

In an interview shortly after he joined Warnaco, turnaround ceo Alvarez said: "My first intention is to recruit talent within or outside the company+that will enable us to focus on the core groups and maximize the value of the brands."

The Calvin Klein-Warnaco relationship was a tumultuous one in the last years of Wachner's reign. Tempers first flared in the late Nineties, after Warnaco took controversial steps, such as selling to warehouse clubs and opening up underwear distribution to J.C. Penney Co. Things came to a head in May 2000, when Calvin Klein Inc. sued Warnaco and then settled the following January, when Klein famously kissed Wachner on the cheek in a Manhattan courthouse.

One jeanswear executive said Kourakos would be "just the guy" to help turn around the Calvin Klein jeans business.

In court papers, Warnaco said: "Kourakos's qualifications and experience in the apparel industry make him well-suited to become the new president of the company's sportswear group. Mr. Kourakos is a well-regarded and seasoned executive who has worked in the apparel industry for many years."

Kourakos could not be reached for comment Friday.

Since leaving Warnaco in 1996, Kourakos has worked in a variety of roles at Tommy Hilfiger, first as president of the Tommy Jeans and then as president of men's wear. He left that position in September.According to the court filing, Warnaco is proposing to pay Kourakos $800,000 a year and $1 million in bonuses over the course of the year, payable in three installments, provided he remains with the company.

The company also disclosed to the court that it posted a $20.1 million loss for the four weeks ended Dec. 1. Excluding reorganization costs of $5.2 million and an income tax benefit of $1.7 million, the loss would have been $16.6 million. The loss for the six months is $220.5 million.

In addition, Warnaco is seeking court approval to enter into an agreement with Vestar Capital Partners for the potential sale of its Lejaby business. Lejaby, based in Lyon, France, is not a debtor in Warnaco's Chapter 11 cases, but is up for sale because the operation was deemed a "noncore" asset. Warnaco purchased the intimate apparel, sleepwear and swimwear firm in 1996 for $79 million and indirectly owns it through two Netherlands holding companies.

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