Ward, an 11-year veteran of the ready-to-wear giant, said he is departing for another position in the apparel industry, although he would not say where he is going.
One of the few Leslie Fay executives to withstand a decade marked by the conviction of two former executives for financial fraud, a four-year stint in bankruptcy and its ultimate restructuring, Ward became its president in 1995 and ceo in 2000. Pomerantz, whose father Fred founded the firm in 1947, remains chairman of Leslie Fay.
Pomerantz is reassuming the role of ceo and said Wednesday that the company will commence an executive search for a replacement.
Leslie Fay emerged from Chapter 11 in 1997 as a publicly traded company, but its stockholders reached a deal in November to be acquired by Three Cities Research, its majority shareholder.
“The company has just gone private, so I felt it was the perfect time for me to move on and do something else,” Ward said Wednesday.
Ward joined Leslie Fay in 1989 as chairman of its Andrea Gayle division. He was promoted to chairman of Leslie Fay Dresses in 1993 and added the Nipon Brands division to his responsibilities the following year, when he was named corporate senior vice president.
Ward worked side by side with Pomerantz on rebuilding the company following its downfall in the early Nineties, when reports of financial irregularities first surfaced. Since it emerged from bankruptcy, Leslie Fay appeared to be on track toward rebuilding its reputation as a dress powerhouse, having signed a license to produce Liz Claiborne Dresses and buying Cynthia Steffe’s business in 2000.
“We were able to revitalize the brands and to change the product with a much more modern approach,” Ward said.