May 1, 2020
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Chico's FAS names Molly Langenstein as CEO

May 1, 2020

Women's fashion retailer Chico's FAS has named Molly Langenstein as chief executive officer and president of the company, effective June 24, 2020. 

Molly Langenstein, CEO and president of Chico's FAS. - Chico's FAS

She will also become a member of the company board. 

Langenstein has served as president of the company's two largest brands, Chico's and White House Black Market, since August of 2019. While overseeing the brands, she led the apparel group, including its brick-and-mortar boutiques and digital platforms, while increasing sales and product quality, the company said. 

Prior to joining Chico's, Langenstein worked at Macy's for over 11 years, serving in a variety of roles including general business manager of ready-to-wear, chief private brands officer, executive vice president, private brands for men's and childrenswear, and executive vice president, group merchandising manager, millennial, among others. Before Macy's, she also held rolls with Marshall Field's and Burdines Department Stores. 

Bonnie Brooks, who has served as interim CEO since April 2019 after the sudden and involuntary exit of Shelly Broader, will now become executive chair of the board of directors and continue to oversee the company's strategic direction, Chico's said. 

"Throughout the fall period, the company demonstrated its capacity to dramatically change its performance trajectory, which continued strongly into the pre-Covid-19 spring season," said Brooks.

"[Langenstein] has shown superb leadership during both this high growth phase and particularly in the current environment, as we pivot to a post-Covid-19 operating model. The new culture of agility, and the ability to grow sales while reducing expenses, has already served us well during this period, and I am confident we have a path forward for a sustainable future with [Langenstein] at the helm of the company."

Additionally, William Simon, a member of the board and former president and CEO of Walmart U.S. and senior advisor to KKR private equity firm, will take on the role of lead independent director, and David Walker, who has served as chair of the board for the past five years, will remain a member of the board. All appointments are effective June 24, 2020.

Yesterday, Chico's announced its plans to reopen stores as Covid-19 restrictions persist through a three-stage reopening program starting May 4, as the company - which owns the Soma lingerie brand, in addition to the Chico's and White House Black Market brands - enters into a broad restructuring strategy. 

In late February, the company reported a net loss of $4.3 million compared to a net loss of $16.6 million in the prior-year period, while net sales for the quarter totaled $527.1 million, up 0.4% from $524.7 million in Q4 2018.

The company has seen three consecutive quarters of growth, with a 9.4% increase in sales from Q1 to Q4 of fiscal year 2019 prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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