LOS ANGELES — Wet Seal Inc. on Tuesday announced that chief executive officer and president Joel Waller will add the title of chairman in the latest management change following the teen retailer’s restructuring.

Waller, 66, replaces Henry D. Winterstern, who remains a director. Winterstern, a former investment banker who joined the board in August 2004 before becoming chairman three months later, is currently chairman and ceo of film company First Look Studios in Los Angeles.

Winterstern, 48, said in an interview that he became chairman to oversee a restructuring that involved the raising of private equity money. “The company is in a different place,” he said. “It’s in a very solid place right now. I believe that at this time Joel Waller is better suited to fill that capacity [as chairman].”

Waller’s appointment tops several executive changes at the Foothill Ranch, Calif.-based retailer, which operates 309 namesake junior stores and 92 contemporary stores under the Arden B. brand. In April, Wet Seal hired Dyan Jozwick from Robinsons-May as chief merchandise officer for its Wet Seal division, and promoted Gary White to chief operating officer from executive vice president. In March, the company named Gregory S. Gemette, formerly chief merchandising officer at G+G Retail Inc., as president of Arden B. merchandise, and appointed Michael Zimmerman and Jonathan Duskin, executives at Prentice Capital Management LP, an investor in Wet Seal, to its board.

Last month, Wet Seal reported that because of several charges, including stock compensation, its net loss in the fiscal first quarter widened to $13.7 million from $8.6 million a year ago, even though revenue grew 21 percent to $125.1 million from $103.8 million in the same period.

This story first appeared in the June 7, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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