Apparel and soft goods company Kellwood has elected president and chief executive Robert Skinner as the company's new chairman.

Skinner, who will continue in his existing positions when he becomes chairman on 1 February, takes over from Hal Upbin, who is retiring.

Upbin said of Skinner's appointment said: "We believe the strategy he has established to position the company for success and future growth will serve our shareholders well as he assumes the chairmanship of Kellwood".

Skinner said: "We have set the stage to build a stronger Kellwood through our continued focus on developing and acquiring great brands, rebalancing our portfolio, and strengthening our management team."

Skinner was named chief executive in June 2005 after joining the board in June 2004 and becoming president and chief operating officer in December 2003.

Kellwood is a US$2bn marketer of apparel and consumer soft goods, specialising in  branded and private label goods.