SWATCHES

MEBANE RETIRES FROM UNIFI: Allen Mebane, the founder of yarn texturizer Unifi Inc., stepped down last week from his seat on the Greensboro, N.C.-based company’s board, ending his 30-year affiliation with the company.
Mebane, 71, had been transitioning out of power at the firm since the late Nineties, after handing over the chief executive reins to William Kretzer. In early 1999, Mebane stepped back into the driver’s seat when Kretzer suddenly retired. Kretzer died about three months later of a heart attack.
In the fall of that year, Mebane again stepped back from the spotlight, naming president Brian Parke — whom he had brought over from the company’s European arm to groom as a successor — to the ceo role.
In October, Mebane stepped down as chairman. He was succeeded by Donald Orr, who serves in a nonexecutive capacity.

GUATEMALA’S TRADE MISSION: Guatemalan trade officials last month unveiled a plan designed to turn the tiny country into the Caribbean Basin’s apparel manufacturing powerhouse within four years.
“Our goal is to become the center of operations for the apparel and textile industry in the region, turning it into the principal generator of foreign-exchange revenues and employment in the country,” said Luis Mendoza, director of the country’s apparel and textile Industry commission, during a presentation at the Marriott Marquis in Midtown Manhattan.
Mendoza said that Guatemala seeks to double its full-package garment production capabilities by 2005. He said the goal will take a few a years to achieve since “it’s not just about financing, it is also about developing know-how.”
Mendoza said the commission — called Vestuario y Textiles de Guatemala — recently launched a series of initiatives aimed at attracting foreign manufacturers, such as the establishment of Maqcore, an agency staffed with Korean speakers who work with Korean-owned mills and the opening of trade offices in the U.S.
The commission also facilitated the launch, in cooperation with the North Carolina State University at Raleigh, of a textile engineering program at the Universidad del Valle in Guatemala City.

GLOBE EXITS BANKRUPTCY: After receiving the approval of an Alabama bankruptcy court, the Italian textile concern RadiciGroup has acquired the assets of spandex maker Globe Manufacturing Corp.
The new owner will operate the Fall River, Mass.-based company under the name RadiciSpandex Corp., and continue to make and sell spandex under the Glospan trademark. Last month, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the northern district of Alabama approved the plan to sell Globe’s assets to Radici. The deal closed last week.
As reported, in January the spandex maker filed for Chapter 11.
Fabrizio Calenti of the Radici Group has been named the maker’s new president and ceo. Richard Heitmiller, who had held the ceo post at Globe, has been named chairman of the new company.
In a statement, Heitmiller said, “The company has been through a lot of distraction during the last 12 months and it will be refreshing to focus solely on business, growth and corporate prosperity.”
Radici Group is a multinational fiber, textile and chemical concern, with 50 factories worldwide and 6,200 employees.

KOSA STREAMLINES STRUCTURE: Polyester maker KoSa has combined its two former regional textile fiber units, which had served the U.S. and the Mexican markets, into one organization.
Eduardo Rocha, vice president of textile fibers, will continue to head up the operation, which will no longer have separate staffs for each region. Marco Espinoza, who had managed the Mexican operation, will serve as general manager of the staple category, while Ken Hardin, who had managed the U.S., will continue as general manager of filament.
“We need to focus on global management of our assets and markets in order to meet the needs of our customers,” said Rocha in a statement.
The company operates six plans in the U.S. and Mexico.

NCCJ HONORS EXECS: The retail, fashion and textile group of the National Conference for Community and Justice announced it will honor two industry executives at its annual awards luncheon,to be held April 19 at the New York Hilton.
They are Reginald M. Smith, director of marketing at Milliken & Co., and Dawn Robertson, president and chief merchandising officer of Federated Direct.

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