Former Tommy Hilfiger executive George Carrara has today (13 March) been named as the new finance and operations chief at apparel firm Liz Claiborne Inc.

The New York based firm, which changes its name to Fifth & Pacific Companies in May, has been shedding brands, including its namesake Liz Claiborne line, in a bid to pay down debt and enhance profitability.

It says Carrara's experience in tackling "systems and operating costs" will be key in his new post as executive vice president, chief financial officer and chief operating officer.

"His industry experience, coupled with his value system and his reputation for delivering results make him an excellent fit for our company," says CEO William McComb.

Carrara, who was most recently chief operating officer at Tommy Hilfiger North America, adds: "I have been following the company's progress, and I am thrilled at the opportunity to help guide Liz Claiborne Inc into the growth phase of its transformation."

The firm, which is now focusing on its Juicy Couture, Kate Space and Lucky Brand units, has also promoted Robert Vill to senior vice president, finance and treasurer.

Carrara replaces Andrew Warren, who is leaving this month to March take up the position of CFO at cable television channel operator Discovery Communications.

Liz Claiborne most recently booked a fourth-quarter profit of US$229.2m thanks to the sale of its namesake brand to retailer JC Penney. Without this gain it would have posted a loss for the three months to 31 December as sales fell 2.6% to $447.1m.