BARNEYS, CREDITORS REJECT RUMORS OF SEARCH FOR NEW CHIEF MERCHANT

NEW YORK — Barneys New York and its creditors denied reports Friday that a search for a new chief merchant is under way.
“We are not looking for anybody. We support existing management and the company is properly situated to be very successful in the future,” said Shelley Greenhaus, managing director of Whippoorwill Associates.
“A search is not needed,” added Douglas Teitelbaum, a principal of Bay Harbour Management. “You have in place at Barneys probably the best merchandising and operating talent in retailing.”
Bay Harbour and Whippoorwill are the two vulture funds leading the creditor-assisted reorganization of Barneys. Combined, they have 41.5 percent of the estimated $320 million in unsecured claims.
Teitelbaum and Greenhaus said the creditors are forming a new Barneys board and seeking members with strong retail experience. That effort, they said, could have sparked reports about a hunt for a merchant.
Rather than having a chief merchant, Barneys officials said, the store takes a team approach. Officials said the women’s side has Judy Collinson, executive vice president, and Bonnie Pressman, fashion director, while the men’s is led by Gene Pressman, consultant and former co-chief executive officer, and Thomas Kalendarian, executive vice president.
The creditor-assisted plan, subject to approval by bankruptcy court, is expected to lift Barneys out of bankruptcy this fall. As reported, Gene and Robert Pressman have stepped down as co-chief executive officers and will serve as consultants and co-chairmen.

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