Jill Brown Dean, former president and chief executive officer of Lane Bryant, has joined Coldwater Creek Inc. as president and chief merchandising officer. In that role, effective Feb. 14, she succeeds Georgia Shonk-Simmons, who is retiring.
Jerome Jessup, executive vice president and creative director of the Sandpoint, Idaho-based multichannel specialty retailer, has been promoted to president and chief creative officer.
The appointments represent a change from plans laid out by Coldwater in June, when it said that Jessup would succeed Shonk-Simmons, who was originally scheduled to take retirement on May 1.
Both Dean and Jessup will report to Dennis Pence, co-founder, chairman and ceo of Coldwater.
Dean was most recently president of the Limited Too division of Tween Brands, which last year was acquired by Ascena Retail Group Inc., formerly Dress Barn Inc. Earlier in her career, she spent 18 years with Limited Brands Inc., beginning with merchandising posts in the Express division and including the ceo post at Lane Bryant and executive vice president and general manager of Victoria’s Secret flagships.
Jessup, a former Gap and Ann Taylor executive who launched his own collection in 2007, joined Coldwater in 2009 in his most recent post. His addition in the creative area was seen as a way to allow Shonk-Simmons to focus more on merchandising as Coldwater struggled to put a series of fashion misses behind it. Pence said that Jessup “has updated and elevated the brand through our new creative initiatives, and we believe that the changes he is making to the design and development of our product are moving the company in the right direction.”
In the third quarter ended Oct. 30, Coldwater trimmed its net loss to $10.9 million from a prior-year loss of $34 million as gross margin contracted to 30.5 percent of sales from 36.4 percent and revenues pulled back 12.8 percent to $232.4 million.