Continuing to rebuild its team to elevate its image and reverse weak sales trends, Talbots Inc. on Thursday made two key appointments at the Talbots brand: Basha Cohen has become executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, and Michael Smaldone has been named chief creative officer.

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Smaldone moves into a newly created job. He will be based in the company’s product office in New York, and will build a complete Talbots brand design function. He was most recently senior vice president of design at Ann Taylor, and earlier served as chief design officer of Anne Klein and creative director of Elie Tahari.

Cohen succeeds Hal Bosworth, who left the company last July. Cohen was the former executive vice president of design and merchandising at the Kellwood Co., where she was responsible for conceiving and launching Dockers Women’s. Earlier, she was senior vice president of women’s product development at J. Crew, as well as senior vice president of design and buying at Laura Ashley plc. Cohen will be based in Talbots’ Hingham, Mass., headquarters.

Both executives will report to Trudy F. Sullivan, Talbots president and chief executive officer.

“Basha and Michael bring a merchandising and design expertise that can infuse a new energy into the Talbots brand and move our product and image forward in a way that will best resonate with our customer,” Sullivan said. “This is an exciting time for Talbots, as the addition of these two key executives further strengthens our management team and represents a significant step in getting our Talbots brand back on track.”

Talbots Inc. also operates J. Jill.