NEW YORK — Malden Mills Industries Inc. on Monday named Michael Spillane, a former Tommy Hilfiger executive, as its president and chief executive officer.

He takes on a role that for several decades had been filled by Aaron Feuerstein, who has retired. Feuerstein’s grandfather, Henry, founded the firm in 1906. After the Lawrence, Mass.-based fleece mill emerged from bankruptcy in October, Feuerstein was named to the honorary positions of chairman and president.

A Malden spokesman said Monday that Feuerstein, 78, left the company in June.

David Orlofsky, a turnaround specialist who has been serving since October as interim chief operating officer and chief financial officer, said he’ll remain on board for an unspecified transitional period.

Spillane, 44, last served as president of men’s underwear and loungewear at Tommy Hilfiger USA. Before that, he held posts at Jockey International and Missbrenner Inc. His priorities include hiring a permanent cfo, according to a company statement.

Feuerstein entered the national spotlight in December 1995 after a fire destroyed Malden’s main plants, threatening the jobs of thousands of employees. Feuerstein kept the workers on the payroll while the plant was rebuilt, winning their gratitude and reams of publicity. When the firm filed for Chapter 11 in 2001, officials acknowledged that financial burdens remaining from the fire had led the firm into fiscal difficulties.

— Scott Malone

This story first appeared in the July 27, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.