NEW YORK — Coach Inc. has named retail and wholesale veteran Kathy Nedorostek as president of the U.S. wholesale division, effective Feb. 3.
Nedorostek, who had been president and chief operating officer of Natori Co. since 1999, succeeds Mary Wang, who was named president of the DKNY division of Donna Karan Co. in October.
She will report to Lew Frankfort, chairman and chief executive officer.
Nedorostek oversaw Natori’s wholesale, retail and licensing businesses. She has a well-rounded background in apparel and accessories in both retailing and manufacturing. A former divisional vice president of designer ready-to-wear, intimate apparel and hosiery at Saks Fifth Avenue, Nedorostek was president of the licensed CK Calvin Klein footwear and accessories at Nine West Group. She is also familiar with the luxury handbag market, having served as president and chief operating officer of Judith Leiber.
In a phone interview Thursday, Nedorostek said: “It’s been a great four years at Natori. This company is on fire now and is at a level where I’ve done everything I can do to help make it as successful as it is today.”
Nedorostek was instrumental in positioning the Natori company’s portfolio of lingerie, sleepwear and at-homewear brands, which includes the upscale Natori black label collection, the classic Natori white label line, a contemporary brand called Josie, a mainstream at-homewear label called Cruz and the licensed Natori foundations at the Bestform unit of VF Corp. A line of luxe handbags bearing the Natori name bowed in 2002.
Josie Natori, ceo of the Natori firm, which generates wholesale sales in excess of $40 million, said: “Kathy has done a great job and she’s leaving the company in very good shape. She’s a great leader and will remain a friend. Now, I’m just going to have to work harder without her.”
Natori said a successor will not be named.
Contacted at the Coach offices, Frankfort said: “She was our preferred candidate. The reason we chose Kathy was because of her merchandising savvy and leadership skills. She is a seasoned business person with an extraordinary taste level who has worked with luxury brands and department stores on the manufacturing and retail sides.”
Coach’s second-quarter sales ended Dec. 28 rose 30.9 percent to $308.5 million, from $235 million a year ago, as reported. Wholesale volume jumped 55.5 percent to $117.1 million. In April 2001, Sara Lee Corp successfully spun off its Coach division.
Frankfort added: “We are growing market share rapidly. In point-of-sales, we are up 40 percent over last year in department stores.”