Aeropostale's ex-CEO Geiger returns

Apparel retailer Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO) announced that Julian Geiger has rejoined the company as CEO. Effective immediately, Geiger will also continue to serve as a member of the board and Thomas Johnson will step down from his role as CEO and director.

Geiger previously served as CEO and Johnson took over the helm upon his departure in 2010. While gone, Geiger was president and CEO of Crumbs Bake Shop from 2011 until December 2013. He rejoined the Aeropostale board in May, just two months before Crumbs announced the closure of all its stores.

"Julian's previous service in the role of CEO combined with his passion for the Aeropostale brand make him an ideal choice to lead this organization," said Karin Hirtler-Garvey, chairperson of Aeropostale's board. "Julian was the leader of Aeropostale's strategic direction during a period of significant growth, and we are confident in his enthusiasm for the business, his understanding of today's teen retail marketplace and his intuition regarding teen fashion. We are pleased to have Julian back to help guide Aeropostale Inc. and further enhance each of the company's sales channels."  

Johnson exited after 22 years with the retailer, helping the brand become one of the leading names in teen fashion. He spent more than half of his career helping the company grow from a few domestic stores into a global business.

"I am confident that the strength of the Aeropostale brand and the transformational initiatives we have executed over the past year, including the recent financing and comprehensive cost reduction plan, have set a strong path for Aeropostale to compete successfully in an evolving teen retail market," said Johnson.

Johnson departed after a rocky second quarter for the retailer. Net sales decreased 13 percent to $396.2 million from $454 million one year ago. Comparable sales, including e-commerce, decreased 13 percent. The total loss for Q2 will be between $61 and $64 million.

Last spring, in the midst of a turnaround strategy, Aeropostale announced the closure of 125 mall-based stores and the elimination of 100 headquarter positions in an effort to cut costs.

"My decision to return to Aeropostale to be its chief executive officer is one that was easy to make," said Geiger. "The opportunity for sales and profit growth; the ability to reinforce the company's special culture; and the chance to work closely with, and influence, the management team and the field organization combine to create a compelling and dynamic challenge."

For more:
-See this Aeropostale press release
-See this Chain Store Age article

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