Byline: Arnold J. Karr

NEW YORK — Former Brooks Bros. chief William Roberti has agreed to serve as president and chief operating officer of Duck Head Apparel Co., subject to the approval of the company’s board.
Robert Rockey would continue as chairman and chief executive officer of Duck Head but relinquish the title of president if Roberti’s selection is approved.
In a statement, Winder, Ga.-based Duck Head said ratification of Roberti’s appointment “is expected to be forthcoming.” Rockey is expected to step down as ceo next spring, the company said.
Roberti served as president and ceo of Brooks Bros. from 1987 to 1994 following his tenure as chairman and ceo of Zale Corp.’s emerging growth business group. More recently, he was president and ceo of Plaid Clothing, a men’s tailored clothing resource. Roberti had been with Hartmarx in a consulting capacity following its purchase of most of Plaid’s assets.
Although Rockey said in a statement that Roberti’s addition “assures a smooth transfer of leadership” at the company, recent events make that assessment subject to debate. The development follows the recent disclosure of a looming fight for control of Duck Head, which was spun off by Delta Woodside earlier this year.
As noted in a 13-D filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Bettis Rainsford, the former chief financial officer of Delta Woodside who owns 13.9 percent of Duck Head, intends to nominate a new slate of directors, including himself, to Duck Head’s board and effect a sale of the company to Knight Textile Corp. Talmadge Knight, Knight’s owner, holds a 4.1 percent stake in Duck Head.
Roberti will be proposed as a director following the company’s annual meeting, scheduled for Nov. 8 in Atlanta.

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