US-based fast fashion retailer Rue21 has announced a series of leadership changes, including the appointment of board member and former Walmart and Uniqlo executive John Fleming to interim CEO amid the departure of Michael Appel.

In a statement, Rue21 said Appel, who was named CEO in November 2018, has returned to his consulting practice and will no longer serve as chairman of the board and CEO.

Fleming has been an active board member of R21 Holdings, Inc (Rue21) since October 2017 after the company emerged from its reorganisation.

Along with holding executive positions at Dayton Hudson, Walmart and Uniqlo, he previously served as an advisor and board member for Stitch Fix and currently serves on the boards of Bed Bath and Beyond, Visual Comfort & Company and Untuckit.

“Contrary to the view that the apocalypse of retail is imminent, this is an exciting time to build relationships and serve customers,” he said, adding he plans to accelerate the business by “modernising our model and delivering value to our customers by building a seamless and personalised experience.”

In addition, the board has also named Scott Vogel as its chairman. 

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Headquartered north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Rue21 operates 690 stores in 45 states and online.