Neil Katz

Parlux Fragrances Inc. has named Frederick E. Purches chairman and chief executive officer upon the departure of its former chairman and ceo, Neil J. Katz.

Neil J. Katz resigned Tuesday as chairman and chief executive officer of Parlux Fragrances Inc. because of differences with the board regarding the direction of the firm. Company founder Frederick E. Purches has been named to succeed him.

This story first appeared in the January 27, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“It was a very difficult year,” Katz said in an interview. “We introduced a lot of brands, and the economy was very difficult.

“My philosophy and the board’s differed,” he said, adding that “we differed on the means of how to move forward. When you strive and want to make things happen, someone else may have a different point of view on what to do.”

Katz said, “The department store situation is horrible, and the returns have been horrendous.”

However, Katz noted the shareholders approved the plan to grant stock warrants to Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter so the watershed licensing deal with the entertainment mogul could move forward. He added that as part of that deal, Rihanna is now working on her first fragrance, which will be launched in the fall.

Katz had held the position of chairman and ceo since July 2007 and during that time was instrumental in acquiring a number of new licenses.

He is expected to remain with the company as a director and consultant.

“I anticipate being able to assist the company during this transition and in the future,” Katz stated.

Katz said he is moving ahead with plans to be an honoree at the March of Dimes’ Beauty Ball on March 11.

Purches founded Parlux and was its chairman in 1984. Prior to Parlux, Purches was president and ceo of Helena Rubinstein/Giorgio Armani Fragrances. He worked as a consultant to Parlux for several years.

“The company has a knowledgeable, experienced staff of devoted employees,” Purches stated, “and I am pleased to take a more active role in Parlux’s future growth and its return to profitability.”

The Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based firm, which said earlier this month it expected sales for the third quarter ended Dec. 31 would be an estimated $52 million, has reduced that figure to about $50 million, citing a larger-than-expected amount of product returns from U.S. department stores.

Parlux added Tuesday it expects to report a net loss for the third quarter of roughly $5 million.

The fragrance producer holds licenses for Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson, Nicole Miller, Josie Natori, Queen Latifah, Marc Ecko, Rihanna, Kanye West, XOXO, Ocean Pacific, Andy Roddick, babyGund and Fred Hayman Beverly Hills designer fragrances, as well as Paris Hilton watches, cosmetics, sunglasses, handbags and other small leather accessories.

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