NEW YORK — In two top management changes at The Doneger Group, Tom Burns has returned as senior vice president and Kathy Bradley-Riley has been promoted to senior vice president of merchandising.

Once again, Burns reports to Abbey Doneger, president of the fashion merchandising and retail consulting company. Burns has responsibility for building client relationships and for furthering the company’s strategic and business initiatives. Burns first joined Doneger in 1990 and left in 1999 as senior executive vice president.

“Essentially, he’s in the same role as before,” Doneger said Wednesday, when he announced the Burns appointment. “He’ll be right in front with our clients. Tom and I will work hand in hand.”

Over the past two decades, Doneger has pursued a strategy of acquiring other buying offices. It’s likely to continue. About three months ago, Doneger purchased Margit Publications, which represents color, fashion and trend services, as well as international fashion publications. In July 2001, Doneger bought the Carol Hoffman better specialty office.

Since leaving Doneger, Burns had been president of Ballinger Gold, a better knitwear manufacturer, and was a vice president at Kirk Palmer & Associates executive search firm.

His early experience was in retail, working as a merchandise manager at Loehmann’s. He later formed his own buying office, which was eventually sold to the VBW Associates buying office that Doneger took over in 1990.

Bradley-Riley, formerly merchandise manager, adds men’s and children’s wear to her responsibilities while continuing over misses’ and junior sportswear. She takes on responsibilities that were held by Mark Minsky, senior vice president of merchandising in men’s, children’s, sportswear and plus sizes, who resigned. Sue Umans and Elaine Berkman will continue with responsibility for Doneger Buying Connection, its plus-sizes division. They report to Doneger.

Doneger said that the two executive changes were unrelated. He noted Bradley-Riley joined the group with the acquisition of VBW Associates in 1990 and oversaw men’s and children’s until 1997 when she shifted to misses’ and juniors’. Doneger’s other top merchant is Roseanne Cumella, senior vice president overseeing dresses, outerwear, accessories and intimate apparel.Asked why he decided to return to Doneger, Burns said, “I looked at my situation and asked myself where I could take all that I’ve learned from my experiences and put it to the best use. It’s with Doneger. It’s like coming back home, but I’ve come back with a well-rounded understanding of the complete cycle of retailing and manufacturing.”

Burns also said that he’s leaving Ballinger Gold “in a very good position,” adding, “It’s a great brand with strong legs. I’ll still be working with them.” He explained that The Doneger Group has retained Prosperity Clothing Co., the Hong Kong-based parent of Ballinger, as a client.

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