Rue21 names Appel interim-CEO, reorganises board - Just Style
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Rue21 names Appel interim-CEO, reorganises board

By Giacomo Lee 18 Oct 2017

Following the court approval of its reorganisation plan last month, teen speciality apparel retailer Rue21 has reorganised its board of directors, naming Michael Appel chairman and interim-CEO.

Following the court approval of its reorganisation plan last month, teen speciality apparel retailer Rue21 has reorganised its board of directors, naming Michael Appel chairman and interim-CEO.

Appel is assuming responsibilities from Melanie Cox, who has served as interim-CEO since April of this year, and is resigning upon the completion of the successful restructuring of the company. The board has initiated a national search for a permanent CEO.

Appel is a senior level retail and consumer goods executive with a diverse background in department stores, off-price and multi-unit speciality retail. He has had direct supervisory responsibility for every functional area within a retail operation, extensive international sourcing capability, and hands-on experience across multiple merchandise categories including apparel.

Meanwhile, the new members of the board include former Uniqlo executives John Fleming and Larry Meyer; Sean Britain, managing director at HIG Bayside Capital; Robert Corliss, chairman/CEO of Robert Talbott, Inc; and former Amazon consultant Jennifer Gosselin.

“This is a very impressive group of directors – one that any major retailer would be proud to have provide leadership and direction,” said Appel. “With experience in all facets of retailing, I feel confident that they will help us to position Rue21 for our next chapter of growth and expansion.”

Appel thanked Cox on behalf of the board for her leadership in taking the company through an “orderly and successful Chapter 11 reorganisation” and said he looks forward to working with her in the coming weeks as she assists in the transition of her duties and responsibilities.

“I am very pleased with the outcome of the restructuring,” added Cox. “The senior leadership team and all our team members worked tirelessly to create a sustainable long-term business model and preserve 15,000 jobs. I am proud of all that was accomplished and am immensely thankful for all of our business partners who supported us throughout the process.”

In addition, Rue21 also named Dr Mark Chrystal as chief analytics officer, responsible for leading the analytics strategy, planning and allocation, and information technology teams for the company.

Dr Chrystal most recently served as chief supply chain officer for David’s Bridal, and formerly held the position of senior vice president of e-commerce and planning and allocation at Rue21. He has also led analytics and planning departments for retailers including American Eagle, The Disney Store, and Victoria’s Secret.

Reporting to Appel, he will focus his expertise on driving Rue21’s holistic analytics direction across all company platforms.

Rue21, which filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May, received court approval for its reorganisation plan last month, adding it expects to emerge from the bankruptcy process after less than four months.

Rue21 to emerge from bankruptcy process