Mindy Meads has been named chief executive officer of Calypso St. Barth.
This story first appeared in the December 13, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Meads, who resigned as Aéropostale Inc.’s president and co-ceo in 2010, has been a consultant since leaving the teen retailer and serves on the board of The Wet Seal Inc., among other companies. Calypso, which was founded on the Caribbean island, has never had a ceo.
The move reflects the strength of the brand and its growth trajectory. Sources familiar with the company said Calypso is tracking to be a $100 million business next year and owner Solera Capital LLC has plans for expanding the specialty chain, which operates 46 stores in the U.S. Calypso opened four stores in California this year and signed a lease at Brookfield Place, formerly the World Financial Center. The company also is interested in building out accessories and other categories and is said to be exploring international expansion.
Solera’s history of taking companies public — last year it orchestrated an initial public offering for Annie’s Inc., the organic and natural food firm — implies opportunities for Calypso. Molly Ashby, Solera’s ceo, was said to be attracted to Meads’ range of experience, which includes public companies such as Aéropostale, where Meads led the development and successful launch of “P.S.,” Aéropostale’s kids division. During her tenure, Aéropostale became the fastest-growing apparel company in the U.S. Sales grew significantly, including a 22 percent CAGR in e-commerce sales, and a double-digit operating margin, which led to a 350-plus percent increase in net earnings per diluted share.
Known as a seasoned merchandising and operations executive, Meads was ceo of Victoria’s Secret Direct prior to joining Aéropostale in 2007 as president. In 2003, Meads was named ceo of Lands’ End, the apparel retailer that’s now a division of Sears Holdings Corp. She’s also held positions at Gymboree, The Limited and Macy’s East.
Chief operating officer David Stiffman, an industry veteran, has provided the retailer with continuity and was elevated this fall to co-president along with Stephanie D. Smith, who has since left the company.
In a letter to Calypso employees obtained by WWD, Meads said, “Calypso has stayed true to the essence of the brand, which has created an intensely loyal client base. This will continue to be our top priority. There are great opportunities ahead of us. The Calypso brand is sophisticated, unique and resonates with quality, adventure and passion.”