Cone Mills is not profiting from the continued trend for denim according to a report in WWD.

The US-based company, which is the largest producer of denim fabrics in the world, announced last week that an inventory build-up among apparel retailers would have a negative impact on textile mills to the end of the year.

As a result, the company said that it expects to remain in the red until the end of the year. Costs associated with its restructuring would also help to keep it from showing a profit in 2001. However, Cone officials expect to return to profitability next year.

"We believe the industry is undergoing a classic cyclical inventory liquidation, similar to that of the 1991 recession," Cone CEO John Bakane told Wall Street analysts.

He added that the major restructure at Cone had got the company into shape. "This ain't no run-of-the-mill downsizing. It is far more sweeping than that," Bakane said. "We are trying to change the cultural ways in which we do business."

In line with these changes, Cone's board recently made two top management appointments.

Tom McKenna and Mike Whisenant have been elected executive vice presidents of the corporation.

Tom McKenna directs market strategy for the Cone Textile Group (denim and khaki), including merchandising, sales, marketing, and customer service. After joining Cone Mills in 1981, McKenna worked in the San Francisco, Belgium, and Singapore sales offices before moving into division management. He has since assumed increasingly responsible positions in sales and marketing, most recently as senior vice president, sales and marketing.

Michael J. Whisenant is responsible for the company's denim manufacturing, product quality, product/process development, engineering, transportation, and warehousing operations. After joining Cone Mills in 1967, Whisenant worked in plant management, product development and product quality. He assumed progressively more responsible positions in manufacturing operations, most recently as senior vice president, operations.

Cone Mills has also announced that Samir M. Gabriel has been elected controller of the corporation, responsible for accounting, financial systems, inventory control and business planning. Gabriel worked for Deloitte and Touche before joining Cone Mills in 1988.

In other action, the Cone board of directors endorsed the consolidation of the sales function into James Payne's current responsibilities as senior vice president of Cone Finishing. Payne directed the operational turnaround of Carlisle in 1999 and is now assuming responsibility for the finishing division's sales force.