Bebe brings back CEO, cuts jobs

Bebe Stores (NASDAQ:BEBE) announced that it is eliminating jobs and bringing back former CEO Manny Mashouf, as the retailer attempts to cut costs and re-energize its business.

Mashouf has rejoined Bebe's management team as CEO, and Walter Parks has rejoined as president, COO and interim-CFO. Jim Wiggett is out as CEO and member of the board, and CFO Liyuan Woo has also left the company.

Bebe has also cut 45 positions—roughly 15 percent of its workforce across the design, merchandising, production, IT and support functions. As part of the reduction, Bebe is streamlining its design and merchandising teams, while reducing support functions.

This is the second round of corporate layoffs at Bebe. The company cut 50 jobs in October, and Mashouf rejoined the retailer in an advisory role at that time.

Mashouf founded Bebe and served as chairman and CEO until January 2013, when he turned the post over to Steve Birkhold. But Birkhold resigned in June 2014 after 17 months of declining sales, and Wiggett took the reins.

"I am extremely pleased to be returning to Bebe as CEO. I also look forward to working with Walter as his deep financial knowledge, as well as his long history with the Bebe brand, make him a great addition to our team," said Mashouf. "We believe the changes we are implementing will enable us to become a leaner and more nimble organization, allowing us to increase our focus on profitability while enhancing our product offering."

Bebe has struggled to compete with fast-fashion brands.

Said Mashouf, "We recognize that the overall macro environment has not been favorable to retailers in general, which is why we are taking steps that we believe are necessary to position the business for long-term success."

For more:
-See this Bebe Stores press release

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