Rue21 CEO steps down
Feb 24, 2020
Warrendale, Pennsylvania-based fast fashion retailer R21 Holdings, Inc. (Rue21) announced on Monday that Michael Appel will no longer be serving as the company’s CEO and chairman, roles in which he will be succeeded by John Fleming and Scott D. Vogel.
According to a press release from the company, Appel “has returned to his consulting practice.” The executive first served as the Rue21’s interim CEO from October 2017 to June 2018, when Laurie Van Brunt took over. However, following her departure a matter of months later, Appel was asked to reclaim his former position on a permanent basis.
The executive, who holds a BA from Brandeis University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, has served as chairman of Rue21’s board uninterrupted since October 2017, leading the company through its transition period following its exit from bankruptcy earlier in the same year.
Fleming, who also joined Rue21’s board following the company’s reorganization at the end of 2017, has now been named interim CEO.
An early pioneer in e-commerce, Fleming’s previous experience includes periods as CEO of Walmart.com and of global e-commerce at Uniqlo. During his time at Walmart, he also served as EVP and chief marketing officer, and EVP and chief merchandising officer.
Prior to this he was SVP of merchandising at Dayton Hudson. Fleming holds a BA from Colorado College and currently serves on the boards of Bed Bath & Beyond, Visual Comfort & Company and Untuckit.
“Contrary to the view that the apocalypse of retail is imminent, this is an exciting time to build relationships and serve customers,” he commented in Rue21’s press release. “Given the momentum we have at Rue21, I'm excited by the opportunity to accelerate our business by modernizing our model and delivering value to our customers by building a seamless and personalized experience.”
Vogel will take over from Appel as chairman of Rue21’s board of directors, bringing wide-ranging experience as a corporate director, advisor and investor to his new role.
News of Appel’s departure is the latest change in senior management at Rue21, which also welcomed Catherine “Cat” Morisano as chief merchandising officer and Mary Blodgett as SVP of stores at the end of last year.
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