John Tighe is stepping down as the president of Peerless Clothing International.
The executive, who had assumed the post in February 2018, officially resigned on Monday. No successor has been named and Tighe will continue to work with the brand to complete open projects and ensure a smooth transition, the company said.
“It’s a very amicable separation,” Tighe told WWD. “I’m here and on call if they need anything.”
At Peerless, Tighe had succeeded Ronny Wurtzburger, who had been president and the face of the country’s largest men’s and boys’ tailored clothing manufacturer for more than 30 years. Wurtzburger has transitioned to chairman of the board.
Peerless, which marked 100 years in 2019, is owned by Canadian executive Alvin Segal, who keeps a low public profile. Segal, chairman and chief executive officer, started working in the company’s factory in 1951 and moved into the American market after the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1989 opened the country’s borders to imports from Canada and Mexico.
His grandson, Douglas Raicek, serves as executive vice president of the brand and is the heir apparent to Tighe if the company decides to name another president. “He’s a great guy, very smart — a Harvard MBA. — and I spent the last two-and-a-half years working with him,” Tighe said, adding that he had also worked with Wurtzburger when he was president. “I believe he will take on a lot of my responsibilities.”
In revealing Tighe’s departure, Segal said: “He is a true professional who has led Peerless through great growth and the current crisis. John’s ability to lead through turmoil has positioned our company to remain strong and prosperous for years.”
Tighe said while he and Segal had some differing opinions on how to grow the business, he is “very grateful for the opportunity to have worked with an industry icon like Alvin Segal. The Peerless team is best in class, and it has been an honor to lead them. I will be cheering for Peerless as they emerge stronger from this current crisis.”
Until joining Peerless, Tighe had spent his entire career in retail, the last 15 years of which were with J.C. Penney Co. Inc., where his last position was as chief merchant. He left that company at the end of 2017 following a reorganization. He also spent 11 years with May Department Stores, most of them with Filene’s.
Tighe said he’s now ready to “look for my next adventure. I’m very happy I took this assignment,” which allowed him to learn the ins-and-outs of wholesaling by “working with all of the best brands in America and all the best retailers.”
Looking ahead, Tighe said he’d “like to run something. I went through a lot of crises with Penney’s and helped guide it back to profitability. I’m a great merchant and really good at leading teams through chaos. I’m hoping somebody needs someone with my skills.”
Peerless is the licensee for brands including Lauren by Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Todd Snyder, Michael Strahan, Karl Lagerfeld Paris and its own Tallia Orange label.