RICHARD BAKER NAMED CEO OF OCEAN PACIFIC
Byline: Anne D’Innocenzio
NEW YORK — With his job as president of Tommy Hilfiger’s women’s division eliminated, Richard A. Baker has joined Ocean Pacific Apparel Corp. as chief executive officer.
Baker, who will be based at the firm’s headquarters in Irvine, Calif., started Monday. He will join the company’s board.
Ocean Pacific is a licensor of surf-inspired apparel, footwear and accessories.
Baker, who had been president of Hilfiger’s women’s division since last March, left the company Feb. 5, according to a Hilfiger spokeswoman. Baker had been responsible for the development and management of Hilfiger’s women’s product licenses.
His position was eliminated “due to the strength of the women’s wear licensee Pepe Jeans London Corp. and its management, with Bubbles Bott as president,” according to a statement by Joel Horowitz, chief executive officer at Tommy Hilfiger.
Neither Baker nor Horowitz could be reached for comment.
As reported, Bott, who had overseen both Tommy Hilfiger’s men’s jeans and women’s casual sportswear, became head of the entire women’s division in December, as part of Pepe’s move to create two divisions with separate management. Pepe Jeans also brought in John Kourakos, who had been president of the Calvin Klein Underwear division of The Warnaco Group, to oversee the men’s jeans division.
A Tommy Hilfiger spokeswoman said that “Horowitz, together with his organization, will continue to oversee the expansion of the company’s existing and future women’s licensed apparel and accessories business.”
In his new post, Baker will assume responsibility for all aspects of Ocean Pacific’s operations, replacing Jim Skelton, who has been acting ceo for the past year while serving as senior vice president of Berkeley International Capital Corp. Berkeley took over the majority ownership of Ocean Pacific in 1993. Skelton will continue to sit on Ocean Pacific’s board.
Before joining Hilfiger, Baker had been president of Bernard Chaus Inc., a post he had held since 1993. Before that, he spent six years with Esprit de Corp., rising to president of Esprit Womenswear.
Ocean Pacific, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1992 and emerged a year later, is a licensor of women’s, men’s and junior’s sportswear under such labels as Op and Ocean Pacific. The 25-year-old company is currently comprised of 11 domestic and eight international licensees with an estimated sales volume of $100 million.