NEW YORK — As it prepares to return to the women’s sportswear business, Nautica Enterprises Inc. is beefing up its management.
The company said Tuesday that Miyuki Takahashi will join the firm Sept. 3 as senior vice president and creative director to oversee the creative design direction for all Nautica women’s products, including women’s sportswear and jeans. The post is a new one. She will report to Harvey Sanders, chairman, president and chief executive officer.
In addition, Leslie Singer on Wednesday is to join Nautica as vice president of sales for women’s jeans, a division that started two years ago, reporting to Paulette McCready, president of Nautica Jeans Co. Singer will assume some of the responsibilities left open by Sandra Campos, senior vice president of sales and merchandising, who recently left the company.
Don Witkowski, president of Nautica International, who also oversees men’s sportswear, has taken on the added responsibility of developing the women’s sportswear line, which is being developed now and sent to retailers on a trial run. Takahashi will collaborate with Witkowski and McCready on the development of these women’s lines.
“We’re gearing up for the launch of women’s sportswear. Don has been instrumental in providing strategies for Nautica men’s, so it’s a natural fit for him to assume the leadership role of women’s too,” said Shannon Froehlich, vice president of corporate investor relations.
Takahashi most recently worked at Sweetface Fashions as vice president of design for J.Lo by Jennifer Lopez. Prior to that, she worked at Liz Claiborne Inc., where she was vice president of design for DKNY women’s jeans and City DKNY for three years. She has also worked at Polo Jeans Co. as a design director for women’s Polo jeans.
Commenting on the jeans business, McCready said in a statement: “Our Nautica women’s jeans division has experienced strong growth since its inception only two years ago. With the addition of Miyuki and Leslie, we have built and positioned an even stronger team…which will enable us to accelerate our growth potential.”
Prior to joining Nautica, Singer was vice president of women’s sales at Guess Inc. for the past six years. She also worked as a divisional merchandise manager at Macy’s East for women’s dresses.
Nautica’s last venture into women’s sportswear was through a licensing agreement with Bernard Chaus Inc. that was inked in 1995. That deal ended in 1998.