By  on August 9, 2007

After a 16-month search, St. John has found a new chief executive officer.

Glenn McMahon, currently president of Dolce & Gabbana USA, has been tapped to head the $400 million Irvine, Calif.-based company, effective Sept. 1. He will report to the company's board.

"It's exciting to see their business is really back on track. It's a perfect time to be joining," McMahon, 48, told WWD on Wednesday.

His appointment was first reported on WWD.com Wednesday evening.

He replaces interim ceo Bruce Fetter, who will return to his role as president, chief operating officer at the company. Fetter had taken the reins from interim ceo Philip B. Miller, a St. John board member who agreed to take on the ceo's role for a year following the abrupt departure of former ceo Richard Cohen in April 2006. Cohen had taken the company away from its core customer.

Jim Kelley, chairman of St. John, explained that choosing McMahon wasn't a difficult decision. "It was very deliberate. Richard left March 31, 2006, and we brought back Marie and Kelly Gray [company co-founder and former creative director, respectively], Maria Lopez [former vice president of design] and Bruce Fetter. Phil Miller agreed to step in as an interim ceo and we weren't in a big rush. We had things covered and knew things needed to be done to correct the business," he said.

Kelley said the St. John business has picked up considerably in the past few months. "Our business is quite strong again, which allowed us to focus again on the search. It was a challenge to find somebody with Glenn's product sense, and we wanted to add someone with a real product sense and product knowledge, who was well steeped in the women's fashion business and had good general management sense."

During McMahon's two-year tenure at Dolce & Gabbana USA, he oversaw Dolce & Gabbana and D&G's wholesale and retail business in North America, as well as Dolce & Gabbana's business in Latin and South America. Earlier, he served as president of Ellen Tracy, executive vice president of Giorgio Armani Collezioni USA and vice president of Donna Karan.

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