Helen McCluskey, group president of intimate apparel at The Warnaco Group, has added global management of the company's swimwear business to her duties.

Since Roger Williams resigned as president of the swimwear group for personal reasons in January, Sherry Waterson, president of the Speedo brand, and Paula Schneider, president of designer swimwear, have managed the group on an interim basis.

McCluskey joined Warnaco as group president of intimate apparel in June 2004 after serving as group president of Liz Claiborne's moderate women's sportswear division.

Earlier in her career, she spent 18 years with Sara Lee's intimate apparel businesses, which are now part of Hanesbrands.

"Since joining Warnaco in 2004, Helen has been instrumental in driving the success of our intimate apparel brands," said Joe Gromek, president and CEO of Warnaco, to whom McClusky reports.

"We believe our swimwear businesses will benefit greatly from Helen's leadership and strategic vision and we look forward to her continued contributions in this expanded role."

In addition to Speedo, Warnaco's swimwear brand portfolio includes Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Anne Cole, Cole of California and Catalina.

In 2006, Warnaco's swimwear group accounted for US$388.9m of Warnaco's $1.83bn in sales, or 21.3% of the total. Intimate apparel's sales were $647m, or 35.4%, and sportswear accounted for the largest share, $791.6m or 43.3% of the total.

The company on Tuesday (12 June) also announced that Standard & Poor's Rating Services had upgraded Warnaco's long-term corporate credit rating to BB from BB-, its unsecured debt rating to BB- from B+ and its secured bank loan rating to BBB- from BB. The overall S&P outlook for the company remained stable.
 
By Arnold J Karr.