Citi Trends Inc.’s former chief executive officer Jason Mazzola left the company to pursue another opportunity.
The company said its board has named Bruce Smith acting ceo. Smith is the company’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer. Citi Trends’ board has also named Ed Anderson as executive chairman. The retailer said Smith will continue to serve as chief operating officer and cfo and that during his tenure, he has had a “broad role” with the firm’s management team. Further, Smith will work closely with Anderson to “manage Citi Trends’ operations and advance the company’s long-term business strategy.”’
The company said that with the leadership transition, the board has reduced its size to six members from seven.
Smith said, “Having worked alongside Ed for many years, in addition to having developed our strategic plan with Jason and the management team, I believe we are well positioned to capitalize on the many opportunities that lie ahead.”
Anderson said, “We have begun a search for a permanent ceo and will strongly consider Bruce for this role given his qualifications and excellent service to the company over the years.”
Smith, a certified public accountant, joined the company in April 2007 as cfo, and has served as chief operating officer since March 2015. Before joining the retailer, he was cfo and executive vice president of Hancock Fabrics Inc., and before that he was cfo and executive vice president of discount retailer Fred’s Inc.
Anderson has been a Citi Trends director since 2001 and served as chairman since May 2006. He was ceo from 2001 to April 2009, and returned to that position from January 2012 to March 2015. His retail background is in the discount channel, having been cfo of discounter Variety Wholesalers Inc. from 1997 to 2001 and before that as chairman, president and ceo of discounter Roses Stores prior to 1997.
John Lupo, lead independent director, said of Smith and Anderson, “I am confident they will continue to advance our strategic priorities put in place to drive sustained growth and profitability, which the board would expect to be reflected in the market valuation of our stock and the delivery of solid returns to our shareholders.”
The retailer earlier this month posted net income of $5.6 million, or 38 cents a diluted share, on net sales of $185.5 million that included a comparable-store sales gain of 3.4 percent.
The company’s board is also the target of an activist investor, Macellum Capital Management. The activist is seeking four board seats and has sent a letter to the board indicating its intent to nominate four candidates for election at the retailer’s 2017 annual meeting of shareholders on May 24.