Bob McKnight, cofounder and executive chairman of Quiksilver Inc. and a pioneer of the West Coast surf and skate market, will retire from active duty at the end of the month.

This story first appeared in the October 15, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

McKnight, 60, will remain a director of the company, which markets the Quiksilver, Roxy and DC brands, but retire from his role as chairman. Andy Mooney, 58, who succeeded McKnight as chief executive officer of the company in January 2013, will now succeed him as executive chairman. Pierre Agnes, 50, will assume the title of president, currently held by Mooney, while continuing in his current capacities as head of European operations and global head of apparel and accessories.

“I believe now is the ideal time to transition into a non-executive role at Quiksilver,” McKnight said. “I have absolute confidence in Andy and his entire team and I look forward to help guide the company as a member of the board of directors. As a significant shareholder, I am fully supportive of Andy’s elevation to chairman and [pleased] with Pierre’s appointment as president. They are the perfect combination to lead this company into the future.”

McKnight owns about 3.3 million shares of Quiksilver stock, about 2 percent of those outstanding, according to the company’s last definitive proxy statement, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in February.

His endorsement of Mooney, the former chairman of Disney Consumer Products, comes at a time when the ceo has been under fire. Last week, activist investor Ryan Drexler of Consac LLC termed Mooney’s efforts at a turnaround a “failure” and urged the company to consider a sale. Through the first nine months of the current fiscal year, the company’s net loss, including more than $200 million in impairment charges, has mushroomed to $257.8 million while sales have fallen 11.2 percent to $1.22 billion. Even with a 14.7 percent increase Tuesday, in advance of the after-market announcement, shares so far this fiscal year are off 78.4 percent, to $1.80 from $8.32.

The Huntington Beach, Calif.-based company has pared some assets and set about a reorganization of its operating structuring but has faced formidable challenges, including a steep decline in the number of independent surf and skate shops it sells to and reduced ordering by surviving firms.

Separately, The Wet Seal Inc. said it had eliminated 78 filled and open positions in the initial steps of a cost-cutting plan. The head-count reduction at corporate headquarters is 24 percent, or 66 positions, while there’s been a decrease of 20 percent of staff at the field management level, or 12 positions.

The teen chain said it will incur a one-time severance cost of $600,000 in the third quarter of 2014, and will benefit from an additional $1.3 million in annualized cost savings connected with the implementation of operating efficiencies across the company, although primarily focused on its distribution center.

Wet Seal now expects a third-quarter loss of 28 cents a share versus earlier expectations of a loss of between 22 and 28 cents, excluding severance, Arden B. exit costs and non-cash asset impairment charges. Comps for the period are now projected to decline in the high teens.

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