LOS ANGELES — Ilse Metchek has resigned as executive director of leasing at the California Mart after 14 months with the facility.
According to a mart spokesman, Metchek left on Dec. 20, the result of a “mutual decision” made with mart general partner Sidney Morse.
“We agreed to disagree,” Metchek confirmed in a telephone interview last week.
“Our messages were different, and our perspectives as to where we were and where we were going were different, but it was an amicable split. We are still friends.”
Morse concurred, but said, “Her job was to boost leasing figures, and they have not been boosted.”
He added that he had not yet begun the process of looking for Metchek’s replacement.
Occupancy rate for the center’s permanent showrooms is at 86 percent, Morse said, noting that the figure has remained steady for the past few years.
“I have no control over bankruptcies and relocations by certain companies to other facilities,” countered Metchek. “Where we could retain tenancy, we did a good job.”
Morse, who created the position of senior director of marketing and leasing for Metchek when he hired her in October 1992, originally viewed her as a general-manager-in-training. He said in an interview with WWD at the time that he hoped to make her the mart’s first chief executive outside the Morse family.
Morse said last week, however, that he was no longer looking to replace himself as the top executive. Mart operations have been directed by members of the Morse family since brothers Harvey and Barney Morse founded the center in 1962. Sidney Morse is the late Barney Morse’s son.
“About six months ago, I realized that I could not focus on all aspects of the business at the same time,” Metchek said. “Sidney and I agreed that I should attack one problem at a time. That’s when my title changed.”
Metchek said her background is in apparel merchandising and she is eager to get back into that line of work.
Before joining the mart, she was vice president of merchandising at budget sportswear company Style Up of California. From 1989 to 1991, she was president of White Stag, a division of Warnaco. Earlier, she ran Ilse M., her own moderate-price dress business here. It closed in 1989.”2.X>