NEW YORK — In an unexpected move, Kellwood Co. replaced its chief executive officer Lynn Shanahan with Joseph Lombardi, the company’s chief financial officer.

Shanahan plans to resume her position leading strategic branding firm C2 Group. She joined Kellwood in July 2013 as ceo of Kellwood Brands and was elevated to ceo of Kellwood in December of that year.

Lombardi joined Kellwood, owned by Sun Capital Partners, in 2013 and prior to that was cfo of Barnes & Noble and held management posts at the Museum Co. and Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. He began his career at Ernst & Young, where he worked with brands such as Phillips-Van Heusen, Adidas and Pony.

Neither Lombardi nor Shanahan were reachable for comment. Industry sources didn’t know why Sun Capital Partners made the abrupt switch and aren’t privy to the numbers, but as one source put it, “Sun is a very mercurial company.”

In a statement, Mark Brody, board director at Kellwood, said Lombardi “brings a wealth of leadership and industry experience to the table along with financial acumen. These skills will be invaluable as the company continues to build on its strong foundation for growth.” Brody was not reachable for further comment.

Shanahan’s tenure was marked by the launch of Sam Edelman contemporary apparel and the acquisition of Parker, the contemporary dress company, as well as the launch of Mason & Belle, an online country-inspired junior line.

She joined the firm prior to the spin-off and IPO of Vince and eventually succeeded Jill Granoff (who was ceo of both Vince and Kellwood) in the Kellwood ceo role.

Kellwood markets a number of brands including Rebecca Taylor, XOXO, My Michelle, Jolt, Democracy, Sangria, Jax, Sag Harbor and Briggs NY.

Prior to joining Kellwood, Shanahan founded C2 Group LLC, a company that partnered with fashion and lifestyle companies to provide operating management, brand development and overall growth strategies. Through C2 Group, she was president of Marimekko. Earlier she was group president for Tommy Hilfiger e-commerce, licensing and marketing.

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