NEW YORK — Theory has tapped Laura O’Connor as president of women’s.

O’Connor was previously with Urban Outfitters as general merchandise manager and design director. She was also a founding head merchant for Urban Outfitters’ direct business, which launched in 2000.

At Theory, she succeeds Trish Wescoat Pound, who joined Michael Kors (USA) Inc. as president of women’s Collection in February.

Prior to Urban Outfitters, O’Connor worked at The Limited, Banana Republic and Barneys New York. As president of women’s, she will work closely with Andrew Rosen, Theory’s president; Craig Leavitt, president of retail, and design director Istvan Francer.

Rosen said O’Connor was a strategic choice, because he wanted more of a retail influence on Theory’s overall business.

“I feel strongly that the future of our business is to operate with more of a vertical retail mentality,” Rosen said. “It means that with all of our work, from department to specialty stores, we have to be thinking as retailers. Our company has tremendous experience and expertise as innovators and developers of products on the wholesale side. The more we can operate with a retail mind and a merchandising philosophy, the more successful we can be. Operating a wholesale company with a wholesale mentality is not good enough.”

Of her responsibilities at Theory, O’Connor added: “We want to find ways to enhance our accounts and really enhance our business. Coming from a retail background, I understand how retailers think, and feel that I can enhance the store experience.”

This story first appeared in the June 21, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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