Retailer Destination Maternity has appointed apparel industry veteran and former Lands' End and J.Crew executive, Marla Ryan, as its permanent chief executive.

Ryan replaces Melissa Payner-Gregor, who has served an interim CEO since January 2018. She was the second interim chief executive for the retail group since the departure of Anthony Romano in September last year as part of a mutual agreement. Payner-Gregor is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities.

Ryan brings more than 25 years of experience in branded apparel and retail, and is the founder and CEO of business consultancy Lola Advisors. She was employed by Lands' End from 2009 through 2017, most recently serving as SVP of retail, and prior to this served in various senior positions at J.Crew, including vice president of the children's apparel division Crewcuts. Prior to that, she served in various merchandising and management roles at Brooks Brothers, American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch and The Gap, Inc.

"I am honoured to take on the leadership of Destination Maternity and its iconic brand portfolio including Motherhood and A Pea in the Pod," said Ryan. "It is an exciting time for the company as we embark on important efforts to unlock Destination Maternity's full potential, with a focus on performance and improving shareholder value."

In its fourth-quarter results, the company admitted there was much work to be done to return Destination Maternity to profitability. It has been battling a number of challenges such as weakness in the women's speciality apparel retail space, as well as declining mall-based traffic.