After spending more than 35 years in the family business, Scott Baskin has retired as chief executive officer of Mark Shale, signaling yet another top-level change at the Chicago men’s and women’s retailer, which is undergoing a rebranding effort.
This story first appeared in the July 14, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Last year, the retailer, which has three locations in Chicago, hired designer Maria Pinto, who gained national acclaim dressing First Lady Michelle Obama on the campaign trail. Pinto now serves as its women’s creative director, hired to forge a new path in women’s wear.
“I’m excited about the new direction for Mark Shale,” said Baskin, whose duties will be assumed by Rich Myers, who was recently promoted to president. “We have a great management team in place and a committed investor group.” Baskin, 61, plans to pursue civic and charitable interests after running unsuccessfully for Chicago alderman earlier this year. He remains a shareholder in the company and will serve as a consultant.
In 2009, Baskin helped the company to rebound from bankruptcy when a Chicago court approved a $2 million debtor-in-possession financing agreement from JOB Investments, which is now the majority investor.
Baskin’s grandfather, Al Baskin, started the retail company in 1929 in suburban Joliet before his son Shale renamed the business Mark Shale in the Seventies. At its peak, Mark Shale grew to 13 stores, before whittling it down to eight locations in the Chicago area, Atlanta, Dallas, Kansas City and St. Louis, before closing its out-of-state locations in 2009.
Today, Mark Shale, with stores in Chicago, suburban Northbrook and Oak Brook, is rebranding itself as Mark Shale Chicago with an emphasis on exposure locally. In the last year, the retailer hired a new vice president of merchandise and marketing and a new marketing director.
“We think we are really progressing in the right way,” Myers said Tuesday. “That’s why Scott felt comfortable to take a break. Thirty-five years in retail is a long time.”