Hot Topic Inc (NASDAQ/NM:HOTT), a mall-based specialty retailer of music-licensed and music-influenced apparel, accessories and gift items for teens, announced yesterday the promotion of Elizabeth McLaughlin to chief executive officer and president.

As announced in February 2000, the board of directors had designated McLaughlin as the anticipated future chief executive officer. She was elected to the board in May 2000. McLaughlin will immediately assume CEO responsibilities.

Orval Madden, the company's founder and former CEO, announced his intention to retire at the end of the current fiscal year. He plans to continue as a director of the company.

Madden said: "It's been over 12 years since I founded Hot Topic and I am proud to have developed and led a very talented team that continues to build one of the most successful specialty store chains in the country, with 272 stores expected to be in operation by the end of this year.

"Combining a passion for music and an open management culture with a talented retail team has resulted in outstanding growth opportunities for our employees and the investment community."

Madden continued: "The state of the company is strong. By handing the torch on to Elizabeth, I am confident that the Hot Topic culture will be protected and enhanced, and her strong leadership will take Hot Topic to the next level of growth. I look forward to my new role as a non-management director, supporting and assisting Elizabeth and her team in Hot Topic's continuing success."

Robert M. Jaffe, chairman of the board, said: "We have known Elizabeth for seven years as she first led our store operations, then our merchandising, and have been impressed with her accomplishments. We have high confidence in her."

McLaughlin said: "I am honoured to assume the responsibility of building upon the foundation that Orval has created. The values that Orval has established, the respect for the customers' needs and the respect for our employees and vendors will continue to be the platform upon which we build the strategies for future growth.

"Orval has shown us by virtue of the company's success that even in today's complex environment, valuing the customer and respecting what the customer has to say is paramount. I am excited to move into the position of CEO, look forward to an ongoing partnership with Orval, leading this quality organisation and continuing to focus on serving our shareholders, customers and employees."

McLaughlin joined Hot Topic in May 1993. From May 1993 through May 1996, McLaughlin was the company's vice president, operations. In June 1996, she was promoted to vice president, general merchandise manager and in June 1998, to senior vice president, general merchandise manager.

In February 2000 she was promoted to president and was elected to the board of directors in May 2000.

About Hot Topic
Hot Topic Inc. is a mall-based specialty retailer of music-licensed and music-influenced apparel, accessories and gift items for young men and women principally between the ages of 12 and 22. The company currently operates 256 stores in 44 states throughout the United States and an Internet store, www.hottopic.com.