Fruit of the Loom has tapped Melissa Burgess-Taylor as chairman and chief executive officer. The appointment comes shortly after the unexpected death of Rick Medlin, who previously held the position.

In a statement to the staff, Warren Buffett, chairman and ceo of Berkshire Hathaway, which owns Fruit of the Loom, said, “Rick lived and breathed Fruit of the Loom, and he was an inspirational leader to everyone associated with the company. He will be greatly missed. His contributions were significant and his legacy will continue through the success of Fruit of the Loom and the employees,” said Buffett.

“I am excited to have Melissa take on this important role as ceo. Already an accomplished Fruit of the Loom leader, she is passionate, smart and cares deeply about Fruit of the Loom customers and employees. She understands the importance of building a great brand, and she’ll add tremendous value to Fruit of the Loom going forward.”

Burgess-Taylor has been with the company for 17 years and most recently served as senior vice president of brand management and sales for Fruit of the Loom and Vanity Fair Brands. Prior to joining Fruit of the Loom she held positions at Hanes Brands and Mercantile Department Stores.

“I’ve been fortunate to be a member of the Fruit of the Loom family and this great company for many years. We have succeeded due to our people, our strong brands and the powerful relationships we have with our customers,” said Burgess-Taylor. “I am grateful for Mr. Medlin’s strong leadership and mentorship, and I am deeply committed to continuing to move us forward.”

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