Chico’s FAS Inc. has named Susan Lanigan executive vice president and general counsel.
Lanigan has 25 years of professional experience and more than 15 years experience in the retail industry. Her retail experience includes a stint as executive vice president and general counsel of Dollar General from 2002 to 2013 and before than she was general counsel for Zale Corp. She most recently served as the chair of the Tennessee Education Lottery Commission.
Shelley Broader, president and chief executive officer, said, “Susan brings a remarkable record helping prominent national retailers successfully navigate complex legal, compliance and regulatory issues.”
Her appointment comes at a time when the company finds itself in the middle of a proxy fight for board seats. On Tuesday, Barington Capital Group said it was nominating two individuals who will stand for election to the board at the annual meeting of shareholders in July. In addition to noting that it has ideas on how more cost-cutting measures can be taken, Barington made reference to general corporate governance matters.
The company addressed those issues Wednesday, noting that Lanigan has participated in recent discussions about the firm’s corporate governance. Those discussions have resulted in two governance enhancements, the company said.
At the shareholders meeting, the proxy materials will include a recommendation “for” a company-sponsored proposal to declassify the board by class over a three-year period. That change would have the entire board stand for election at the 2019 annual meeting.
Also, Chico’s has adopted a formal policy limiting directors to service on four public company boards, in addition to their service on Chico’s board.
David F. Walker, chairman of Chico’s, said, “With a new ceo, new strategic priorities centered around our four focus areas and new team members, we are entering a period of opportunity and renewed value creation for Chico’s FAS. The progress we are making is reflected in the governance enhancements announced today to improve our operations and financial performance — with more to come.”
Walker added that Broader “has clearly been a positive change-agent for Chico’s FAS, and one that we believe will result in enhanced growth and value for all Chico’s FAS shareholders.”