LOS ANGELES — Former Jones Apparel Group Inc. chief financial officer Efthimios P. Sotos has joined premium denim company J Brand as finance chief.

This story first appeared in the May 18, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

It is the first major hire by Los Angeles-based J Brand since the firm was acquired three months ago by investors, including talent powerhouse Creative Artists Agency. Sotos will also be an executive vice president, overseeing sales growth and helping manage operations with J Brand chief operating officer Albert Schami.

Star Avenue Capital LLC said in February it acquired a majority interest in J Brand in a deal said to be valued in excess of $50 million. Established a year ago, Star Avenue is a partnership between Star’s management, private equity firm Irving Place Capital and CAA.

As part of the deal, Peter Boneparth, former Jones Apparel Group chief executive officer and a senior adviser for Irving Place Capital, joined J Brand as chairman.

Sotos, 42, worked with Boneparth at Jones before Sotos left to join teen retailer Metropark USA as its chief operating and financial officer in February 2008. Sotos’ prior retail experience included tenures as chief operating officer and cfo of BCBG Max Azria Group and assistant treasurer of Nine West Group.

Sotos is “incredibly smart and he really fits with the team here…when you do something like [the sale to Star], having a cfo in position is really wise and prudent,” said Jeff Rudes, ceo and founder of J Brand.

Rudes said J Brand, which launched five years ago and has 102 employees, is on track to grow sales by as much as 60 percent to $85 million this year through retailers such as Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Intermix.

As for joining True Religion, Seven For All Mankind and other premium denim rivals that have opened freestanding shops, Rudes said a J Brand store is in the works to open before 2012. The company operates an outlet store near its headquarters in Los Angeles.

“We’re here to support our wholesale business, our majors business and our specialty store business and not necessarily put stores next to them and compete with them,” Rudes said. “There’s no rush to do it.”

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