Rue21 names Michael Appel interim CEO, forms new Board
Rue21 announced on Tuesday the formation of its reorganized Board of Directors and the appointments of Michael Appel as Chairman and Interim CEO and Dr. Mark Chrystal as Chief Analytics Officer.
Appel succeeds Melanie Cox, who served as Interim CEO since April 2017, and is resigning upon completion of the company’s restructuring. The new Chairman and Interim CEO possesses several years of senior-level experience at retailers such as Bloomingdale’s, Lane Bryant and Baccarat among others.
Dr. Chrystal most recently served as Chief Supply Chain Officer for David's Bridal, and served as SVP of E-Commerce and Planning and Allocation at Rue21. He also led analytics and planning departments for retailers such as American Eagle, The Disney Store, and Victoria's Secret.
"On behalf of the Board of Directors of Rue21, we are grateful for Melanie's leadership in taking the company through an orderly and successful Chapter 11 reorganization,” said Appel. “With Melanie at the helm, Rue21 exceeded its financial goals and stabilized relationships with both the factor and vendor communities. I look forward to working with her in the coming weeks while she assists in the orderly transition of her duties and responsibilities."
The teen specialty retailer reorganizes its Board of Directors just one month after beginning its restructuring plan. Rue21 in May filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in order to reduce its debt, and in the month prior to filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, closed 400 of its 1,179 stores. The US bankruptcy court for the District of Western Pennsylvania approved Rue21’s restructuring plan in September, and the plan began on September 15.
The new Board of Directors includes H.I.G. Bayside Capital Managing Director Sean Britain; Robert J. Corliss, Chairman/CEO of Robert Talbott and CRO and Trustee of Movie Gallery/Hollywood Video; former Uniqlo and Wal-Mart executive John Fleming; Jennifer Gosselin, SVP of Merchandising at Minted; and Larry Meyer, who has served as CEO & Group Officer at Uniqlo, EVP at Forever 21, CFO at Gymboree, CFO at Toys "R" Us, Director of Planning at PepsiCo, and CFO at Nielsen Marketing Research.
Appel added, "This is a very impressive group of directors-- one that any major retailer would be proud to have provide leadership and direction. With experience in all facets of retailing, I feel confident that they will help us to position Rue21 for our next chapter of growth and expansion."
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