Shares of Chico’s FAS slipped in trading a day after the company named a new chief executive officer.
The 1.2 percent slide in Chico’s shares, which closed at $13.98, also reflected a generally down market on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipping 0.1 percent to 17,775.80.
On Wednesday, the women’s specialty retailer said Shelley Broader will become the company’s ceo on Dec. 1. She will also join the Chico’s board. Broader succeeds David F. Dyer, who will become vice chairman of the board.
Broader has more than 25 years experience in retail, which includes stints at Michaels Stores and at several nameplates within the Delhaize Group. In her most recent role, she was president and ceo of Wal-Mart’s EMEA region, responsible for retail operations and business development across Europe, the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa and Canada. In that role, she oversaw 1,345 retail units and more than 285,000 associates. Before that, she held stints as president and ceo of Wal-Mart Canada, chief merchandising officer for Wal-Mart Canada and senior vice president for Sam’s Club.
David F. Walker, chair of Chico’s board, who thanked Dyer for his years of service, said Broader brings a “remarkable track record, with a global perspective and a keen understanding of how to engage consumers and partner with suppliers to drive profitable growth in a competitive retail environment.”
Walker said the company conducted an extensive ceo search and Broader was the top choice, having the “extensive retail industry expertise, leadership skills and appreciation for superior service that we believe will take Chico’s FAS and each of our brands into our next phase of growth and value creation.”
Broader said, “The company has made great strides in improving its operating foundation and benefits from a powerful portfolio of brands, each with a unique identify and opportunity for growth.”
The hiring of a new ceo comes at a time when private equity firm Sycamore Partners is said to have been in discussions to acquire the specialty chain. Rumblings of an acquisition first surfaced in February, but that deal fell apart. According to someone familiar with the discussions, Sycamore had secured financing from multiple sources at a price it wanted to pay, but talks broke off when the private equity firm and Chico’s had a “disagreement over price.” Sycamore made a second attempt to buy the company in the late summer, but that too fell apart, although this time it was said to be due to an inability to secure financing.
Chico’s has long been rumored to be a takeout target since private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners disclosed in April that it acquired a 1.3 percent stake, or nearly 2.1 million shares, in the women’s specialty chain. The purchase of shares was in September 2013.
In August, the company said it was selling its Boston Proper direct-to-consumer business and closing those stores. Should that get completed, the retailer still would have its core Chico’s nameplate, Soma lingerie concept and its White House|Black Market chain.