John Tighe

John Tighe is switching sides.

The long-time J.C. Penney merchant is joining Peerless Clothing as president. He will succeed Ronny Wurtzburger, who has been the face of the tailored clothing manufacturer for more than 30 years.

The change is effective Feb. 26 when Wurtzburger will  transition to the position of chairman of the board.

Reached on his cell phone Tuesday afternoon, Tighe said since leaving Penney’s in November following an organizational restructuring, he had been networking and ran into Wurtzburger at an industry event in New York. The two started talking and Tighe found out that there was an opportunity opening up at Peerless. One thing led to another and they made a deal for Tighe to jump over to the wholesale side.

He said that although his entire career was spent in retail, he was looking for a new challenge. “Peerless has done a great job positioning itself with the best brands in America,” he said. “And I’m excited to build on the business they’ve created. My goal is to understand what they’re doing, where they might need help and then make it better.”

He said that Wurtzburger is “a legend” in the men’s wear industry so he knows that he has his work cut out for him. “I have huge shoes to fill, so will just put some new shoes next to his.”

Tighe joins Peerless after 15 years with Penney’s, most recently as the brand’s chief merchant. Before that, was general merchandise manager of men’s wear for the Texas-based retailer. He also spent 11 years with May Department Stores, most of it with Filene’s.

Alvin Segal continues as chief executive officer of Peerless.

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