Paula Schneider’s team is coming together at American Apparel Inc.
Schneider, who took the helm as chief executive officer of the retailer last month, is bringing on board Thoryn Stephens as the company’s first chief digital officer and Cynthia Erland as senior vice president of marketing.
The company said Stephens will be responsible for “optimizing the company’s digital marketing, data analytics and e-commerce strategies.” He is trained as a molecular biologist and was previously vice president of data science at Tillster, which works on customer engagement in restaurants.
Erland will oversee American Apparel’s marketing and communications efforts and has worked in the past at Perry Ellis International, C&C California, Universal Studios and E! network.
They start at the brightly colored basics company on March 9 and report to Schneider, who’s been busy shaking up the company’s executive ranks.
Senior creative director Iris Alonzo and creative director Marsha Brady were both shown the door last week, according to a source familiar with the situation.
This is the second time Alonzo’s been fired. The first time came last summer, shortly after founder and former ceo Dov Charney was suspended amid allegations of misconduct. She was a strong supporter of Charney’s, telling The Los Angeles Times that, “If he were to not be put back into a leadership position, the steam would soon dissipate.”
She was rehired in October to help calm the waters, but now the company is said to be looking to potentially reconfigure and build out its design department.
Charney, meanwhile, is believed to still be searching for a way back into the firm. After his ouster last year, the controversial executive linked with Standard General and rebuilt his stake in the company to 43 percent, but failed to regain his influence and was ultimately cut loose.
The founder was last month said to have held preliminary discussions about buying back the company with Jay Schottenstein, who is head of SB Capital Group and Schottenstein Stores Corp. But those talks cooled.
American Apparel has also been fielding takeover interest from John Howard’s Irving Place Capital, which dangled the possibility of buying the company for $245 million, pending due diligence.