Gerald W. Evans, chief executive officer of the innerwear and activewear company, has made plans to retire on Jan. 2, 2021, the end of HanesBrands’ current fiscal year.
“After more than three-and-a-half decades at Hanes, I am confident that now is the right time for the company to transition to its next generation of leadership,” said Evans, who joined HanesBrands in 1983. He was named ceo in 2016.
“Thanks to our team of hard-working employees around the world, we have created a strong foundation for sustainable success that is rooted in our customer-centric approach, agile business model and commitment to continuous improvement,” Evans continued. “I am confident that Hanes is well positioned to achieve its full potential and am pleased to work alongside the rest of the board and management team to provide a smooth handoff to our next ceo.”
The Winston-Salem, N.C.-based company, parent to brands such as Hanes, Bali, Playtex, Maidenform, L’eggs, Wonderbra and more, has started its search for a successor and said it will consider both internal and external candidates.
But the next in line will have big shoes to fill.
Both sales and profits rose during the most recent fiscal year, thanks to the continued strength of the Champion brand — which under Evans’ leadership doubled to sales of nearly $2 billion annually — the ath-leisure trend and the company’s portfolio of innerwear brands. The company’s intimates division, which includes Bras N Things, Just My Size and DIM, was the fourth largest supplier of women’s intimates apparel in 2018. In June 2019, HanesBrands expanded its distribution of Hanes socks and L’eggs hosiery to Dollar General stores nationwide.
Ronald L. Nelson, chairman of the Hanes board, added that “Gerald has been an invaluable member of the Hanes team during his 36 years of dedicated service. Under his leadership, the company has expanded its geographic footprint, broadened its portfolio of premium brand offerings, and pioneered product, process and supply chain innovation, helping transform Hanes into the world’s largest everyday basic apparel company. We thank Gerald and appreciate his willingness to continue with the company through the year end to ensure a seamless transition of leadership.”
Shares of HanesBrands, which are down roughly 29 percent year-over-year, fell more than 9 percent Wednesday. (The company alluded to possible store closures in its most recent quarter.) But on Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average also fell — more than 1,000 points — as fears of the coronavirus continue to spread around the world.