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Tropical Sportswear Blows Out Top Execs

NEW YORK — Storm clouds gathered over the corner offices at Tropical Sportswear International Corp.’s Tampa headquarters Wednesday.<br><br>The firm’s board said after two months of reviewing strategic options for the company with...

NEW YORK — Storm clouds gathered over the corner offices at Tropical Sportswear International Corp.’s Tampa headquarters Wednesday.

The firm’s board said after two months of reviewing strategic options for the company with hired investment bankers Merrill Lynch, it had decided to ax several top executives.

In a statement, the company said it was firing president and chief executive officer Christopher B. Munday, executive vice president and chief financial officer N. Larry McPherson and executive vice president and general counsel Gregory Williams. All the terminations are effective Friday.

In addition, the maker of branded and private label apparel said Michael R. Mitchell, president of its Savane division, has agreed to step down.

In further changes, the company said Michael Kagan has given up his role as chairman, but will remain as ceo and retain a seat on the board. Following the recent wave of corporate scandals, more U.S. firms have looked at separating the positions of chairman and ceo in an effort to prevent the abuse of power.

Eloy S. Vallina-Laguera, a director of the firm since 1989, has been named chairman. Vallina-Laguera had a long tenure in the Mexican apparel manufacturing industry. In addition, Richard Domino, formerly president of the company’s private label operation, was named president of the corporation. Robin J. Cohan, formerly senior vice president of finance, was named chief financial officer and treasurer.

The company’s share price has tumbled over the past year, closing Tuesday at $5.42 in Nasdaq trading, up 25 cents for the day, but down 72.9 percent from its 52-week high of $19.99, set in August 2002.