American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO) appointed Jay Schottenstein as CEO, effective immediately. Schottenstein has served as interim CEO since January 2014, and will continue in his role as executive chairman.
"Jay has orchestrated a swift recovery since taking the helm, successfully guiding the company through a challenging and highly competitive retail environment," said Michael Jesselson, lead independent director for American Eagle's board of directors. "He has exceptional instincts for our brands, a strong strategic vision, and proven ability to lead the company to profitable growth. On behalf of the entire board, we are pleased to have Jay's commitment and the leadership continuity that this appointment brings."
Schottenstein has a long history with American Eagle. Before he took over as interim CEO, he served as chairman of American Eagle since March 1992 and also held the CEO role from 1992 to 2002.
"Nearly two years ago, we set priorities to strengthen the merchandise, reinvigorate our brands and deliver profit improvement," Schottenstein said. "As a result, we have achieved several quarters of sales and earnings growth in a tough retail landscape. This success is a true testament to the strength of our leadership team, dedication and talent of our associates and the power of our brands."
American Eagle is still in need of a new chief merchandising officer after 16-year veteran Michael Leedy stepped down in September.
American Eagle has struggled along with other teen-oriented retailers, including Abercrombie & Fitch and American Apparel, to remain relevant with younger shoppers, who are now more in tune with fast fashion than higher-priced looks. Rather than compete with the likes of H&M and Forever 21, the retailer pared back some promotions and created new apparel lines at slightly higher prices.
Last month, American Eagle acquired Tailgate Clothing and Todd Snyder, an upmarket men's apparel line, in an attempt to further reach college-age customers and expand into new markets and demographics.
-See the American Eagle Outfitters press release
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