The company did not provide a reason for Griesemer’s departure and did not return calls seeking comment.

This story first appeared in the September 15, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Pence cofounded the Sandpoint, Idaho-based missy retailer in 1984 and served two prior stints as ceo: from 1984 to 2000 and again from 2002 to 2007.

Griesemer, a veteran of Federated Department Stores Inc., now Macy’s Inc., and Gap Inc., joined Coldwater Creek in October 2001. He was promoted to president and chief operating officer in March 2007 and took the reins as ceo after Pence retired from the position in October 2007.

“It is my firm belief that this brand, now 25 years of age, has significant opportunities for substantial growth,” Pence said in a statement. “The board of directors has asked me to return as our leader in order to accelerate the timelines for this growth, and for a return to long-term profitability, which our shareholders so rightfully expect.”

The company has struggled recently as the missy market proved particularly vulnerable to the recession and accompanying slowdown in consumer spending.

In its second quarter, which ended Aug. 1, Coldwater Creek swung to a loss of $4.9 million while revenues fell 6.7 percent to $225.2 million and were off 10.2 percent on a same-store basis. Direct-channel sales fell 19.7 percent to $41.8 million. Its first-half net loss more than doubled to $12.5 million as sales fell 11.5 percent to $453.6 million.

At the time of the retailer’s earnings release, Coldwater Creek said it planned to increase spending on marketing and inventory to better its sales figures. The company operates 355 stores.

Shares of Coldwater Creek fell more than 8 percent after disclosure of the shakeup but finished the day up 7 cents, or 1 percent, at $7.38.

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