US mother-and-baby retailer Destination Maternity has announced Marla Ryan is to step down as CEO, but will move to a new position at the company as president of product design, sourcing and merchandising.

Ryan has served as CEO since May of last year.

The board has created an ‘Office of the CEO’ on an interim basis, which will provide ongoing leadership and oversight of the day-day operations of the company while a search is conducted for a new CEO. Board member Lisa Gavales will serve as chair.

“As the company strives to improve its performance and deliver profitable growth, the board of directors unanimously determined that the company would benefit from new leadership and enhanced execution,” Gavales says.

The retailer also said turnaround specialist Gene Davis, chairman and CEO of Pirinate Consulting Group will join its board as chairman.

Earlier today, Destination Maternity reported a “challenging start to the year” as first-quarter net income declined to US$0.1m, compared to $0.2m last year, and net sales fell 8.7% to $94.2m.