Lands’ End CEO Search Goes to Heidrick & Struggles

September 30, 2016 – Lands’ End, Inc. has retained the services of Heidrick & Struggles to lead its search for a new chief executive officer. After only two years on the job, Federica Marchionni has stepped down, leaving the company without a permanent CEO as the holiday season approaches.

Lands’ End, which was spun off from Sears in 2014, tapped Ms. Marchionni to help transform the retailer into a global lifestyle brand. She worked to expand distribution while upgrading the company’s product design and development, but results still faltered as apparel purchases and retail traffic slowed dramatically.

“Apparel in general has struggled; Lands’ End is definitely not unique to that situation,” said Poonam Goyal, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “Maybe the leadership change happened simply because the brand wasn’t able to gain traction.” Lands’ End shares have been down 33 percent for the last year.

The company has appointed Joseph Boitano and James Gooch co-interim chief executive officers, effective immediately. Mr. Boitano currently serves as executive vice president and chief merchandising and design officer, and Mr. Gooch currently serves as EVP and chief operating and financial officer.

Lands’ End is considering both internal and external candidates.

“Joe and Jim are seasoned retail executives with a deep understanding of and appreciation for Lands’ End’s values, customer base and growth opportunities, and we are delighted that they have agreed to expand their roles during this interim period,” said Josephine Linden, chairman of the board of Lands’ End.

“The board is confident that Jim’s financial and operational acumen in consumer retail, combined with Joe’s widely recognized apparel merchandising and design expertise, make them the right fit to lead Lands’ End as co-interim CEOs. As we move forward, we remain committed to building on Gary Comer’s legacy of keeping Lands’ End at the forefront of innovation in the retail industry and returning to sustained, profitable growth for the benefit of all our stakeholders.”

Lands’ End is a multi-channel retailer of clothing, accessories, footwear and home products. The majority of Lands’ End’s business is conducted through mail order and Internet sales, but the company also runs more than a dozen retail operations, primarily in the Upper Midwest, along with international shops in the U.K., Germany, Japan, France and Austria.

High Profile CEO Recruiting

Heidrick’s global CEO & board practice advises companies on succession planning, talent management, board effectiveness and culture shaping, and also places directors and CEOs at leading private and public companies. It offers an integrated suite of services, from the acquisition of talent to longer-term succession planning, board dynamics, and culture shaping. Earlier this year, Bonnie Gwin and Jeff Sanders were named as co-managing partners of the firm’s practice group covering this area.

Heidrick has recently filled a number of high profile CEO appointments for client companies. Here’s the latest roundup from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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