American Eagle Outfitters Inc. is eyeing David McCreight, former president of Under Armour Inc., as possibly its next chief executive officer, two industry sources said.
This story first appeared in the April 12, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
However, other candidates are being checked out as well, and an announcement is not imminent.
“They’ll first go after sitting ceo’s of public companies, but David is a very viable candidate. He’s the right age , got the right look and personality and has a nice combination of skills. He can talk brands, but he’s also analytical with the numbers. He’s well-rounded,” said an industry source. “He definitely wants to run something. He left Under Armour to pursue other opportunities.”
“We are still in the very early stages of the search and no one has been singled out at this time,” said an AEO spokeswoman.
McCreight joined Under Armour in 2008, but didn’t feel he was being given enough responsibilities by the founder-ceo Kevin Plank. “It’s been hard for Kevin to give up responsibilities,” the source said.
Another source said it could be at least a few months before American Eagle names a successor. In early March, American Eagle said ceo James O’Donnell, who is 70, would retire as soon as the company designates a successor. American Eagle has been struggling with its pricing and merchandise strategies and fiercely battling such competition as Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and Aéropostale Inc., though it reported a sharply improved fourth quarter, when profits rose 46.7 percent to $87 million, or 44 cents a share.
McCreight was president of Under Armour from July 2008 to August 2010, and departed on good terms, with Plank stating, “Over the past few years, we have delivered strong results, developed a strategy and platform for driving future growth, and built a tremendous team of leaders to take Under Armour to the next level.”
Before Under Armour, McCreight served as president of Lands’ End from August 2005 to July 2008 and senior vice president of merchandising from November 2003 to July 2005. Earlier in his career, he was senior vice president and general merchandising manager of Disney Stores Worldwide, and president of Smith & Hawken.