LONDON FOG SAYS GREGORY HAS TOP POSTS
Byline: Arthur Friedman
NEW YORK — Robert E. Gregory took the helm as chairman and chief executive officer of London Fog Corp. Tuesday, succeeding John Varvatos and James Milligan respectively.
This confirms a report in Tuesday’s WWD that Gregory, formerly chairman of The Gitano Group, would be named to head London Fog. Douglas Hillman, who remains president of London Fog’s wholesale division, said Tuesday that Milligan will continue to be a director of the firm. Milligan’s role with the company was always intended to be an interim one, Hillman said, following the stormy 11-month reign and subsequent departure of Arnold Cohen, who left as chairman and ceo in August.
“James Milligan’s role was to solidify our position with lenders and add stability to the company,” Hillman said.
Varvatos, who succeeded Cohen as chairman, was brought into the firm by Cohen in November 1993 from Calvin Klein, where he was corporate president of men’s wear. Although Hillman would not comment on the status of Varvatos, sources said he is expected to remain with the company for a short transitional period. Varvatos could not be reached for comment.
C. William Crain, who was vice chairman and chief operating officer at Gitano under Gregory, has been named corporate president and chief operating officer of the Darien, Conn.-based rainwear and outerwear maker.
“The brand is still exceptionally strong with the consumer, who isn’t aware of the problems we’ve been having,” Hillman said. “This company has had more than a 10 percent profitability margin for 11 of the 12 years I’ve been associated with it, and the other year it was 9.6 percent. So, we’re a very profitable company that got off track and tried to do too many things too quickly.
“Under Robert Gregory’s leadership we plan to get back on track and focus on London Fog and Towne rainwear and outerwear. For fall ’95, London Fog and Towne will produce a quality product, built on the strength of core basics, and deliver it on time.”
Hillman was referring to problems with quality and delivery this past season, which was blamed on poor planning due to the confused state of the company under Cohen. Hillman said the company will “definitely not” be producing any women’s sportswear, after Cohen tried unsuccessfully to expand that portion of the business.
Prior to his stint at Gitano, which was sold to Fruit of the Loom for $100 million last March, Gregory until 1990 was president and chief operating officer of VF Corp. Hillman said this month London Fog will be combining its women’s and men’s showrooms at 8 West 40th St., which will be called the London Fog building.