The second shoe has dropped at Tailored Brands.
Carrie Ask, chief customer officer, who also served as the de facto chief merchant for the men’s wear retailer, is following the chief executive officer out the door, according to several sources.
In response, a spokesperson for Tailored Brands Inc., confirmed her impending departure on March 26, and sent the following statement: “The company is immensely grateful for Carrie’s leadership and thanks her for all she has done to unlock value across the brand portfolio with enhanced omni-channel solutions, safe and convenient in-store experiences and an expanded product offering. The company has already started off the year with positive business momentum and is poised for long-term growth and success.
“A search for a new chief customer officer will soon be underway,” the statement continued. “Meanwhile, the existing CCO leadership team, operating under the supervision of interim co-CEO Peter Sachse, will ensure the company continues to show up strong for its customers, helping them look and feel their best for all the moments that matter.”
Ask’s departure does not come as a surprise. She was the right-hand executive of CEO Dinesh Lathi, who will also be leaving the company on Friday after serving in the top post since March 2019. As reported, board members Peter Sachse, a longtime Macy’s Inc. executive, and Bob Hull, the former chief financial officer of Lowe’s Cos. Inc., will serve as interim co-CEOs until a successor is named.
Ask joined Tailored Brands in fall 2018 as brand president of the company’s Men’s Wearhouse and Moore’s divisions. Before that, she was executive vice president and president of global retail for Levi Strauss & Co. and had also been with Nike Inc. for just under four years, working on the retail divisions of Converse and Nike North America.
Although Ask was instrumental in the creation of the company’s Next-Gen retail strategy, a concept that offers an updated aesthetic with an enhanced focus on sportswear and less on tailored clothing, it was a little too late for the retailer, which filed Chapter 11 in August. It emerged from bankruptcy in December with $678 million less in debt, 500 fewer stores and a $430 million asset-based loan facility, a $365 million exit-term loan and $75 million of cash from a new debt facility.
However, in early March, the company said it needed an additional $75 million in order to keep operating. Tailored Brands secured that sum — which consists of $50 million of mandatorily convertible notes and $25 million in additional senior secured debt — from Silver Point Capital LP, one of its existing lenders and its largest equity holder. A bankruptcy court hearing on the loan is scheduled for April 1.
Despite the newly acquired cash cushion, the situation continues to be precarious at Tailored Brands, sources said, and its future is cloudy. “I’m not sure the lenders are ready to invest anything more,” said one source, who added, “It’s a clear indication that you need a merchant to run a fashion business.” Lathi has an engineering degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an MBA in business from Harvard Business School and worked at eBay and One Kings Lane before joining Tailored Brands as a director in 2016.
Tailored Brands was founded in 1973 by George Zimmer, whose gravelly voice and ubiquitous television commercials helped put the company on the map. He left following a rift with management in 2013.