WILLIS EXITS ALL POSTS AT CONE MILLS

NEW YORK — Bud Willis 3rd resigned Friday as president of Cone Mills’ Cone Apparel Products unit and an executive vice president of the company and member of its board.
Willis, 53, is a 26-year veteran of Cone and had been president of the Apparel Products unit since December 1994. Prior to that, he was president of Cone’s denim division.
The Apparel Products unit accounts for about 85 percent of Cone’s annual sales, which totaled $910 million in 1995. For the third quarter of 1996, sales were $154.2 million, down 14.5 percent from the year-ago period. The apparel fabrics segment volume for the first nine months of 1996 totaled $500.8 million, down 5.3 percent from $528.7 million in 1995.
Cone is realigning the division in the wake of Willis’s departure. Under the new structure, Cone Denim North America and Cone International Marketing will report to John Bakane, the company’s chief financial officer. Cone Sportswear will report to J. Patrick Danahy, the company’s president and chief executive officer.
In a statement, Danahy said, “Due to this resignation, we are realigning our reporting responsibilities to more closely link our highly experienced operating managers with Cone’s global strategy.”
A Cone spokeswoman would not elaborate on the circumstances surrounding Willis’s resignation. Willis could not be reached for comment.
“Bud is very well-respected and was a visible leader of the division that was Cone’s workhorse,” said Jack Pickler, first vice president and senior textile and apparel analyst for Prudential Securities. “I’m not sure this reorganization is going to change the business environment, which has been tough for Cone.
“Sportswear has been very difficult this year, and denim has been sluggish recently. You can’t blame that on management. It’s just the markets they’re in.”

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