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Liz Claiborne takes steps to accelerate turnaround at Mexx
29
Sep '08
Liz Claiborne Inc announced that is implementing initiatives to accelerate the turnaround of the Mexx business in Europe. These initiatives will focus on enhancing the brand by improving product appeal, more closely linking the wholesale and retail presentations and strengthening retail operations. To expedite this process, the company has made key appointments to the Mexx Europe Holdings (Mexx) management team.

Effective immediately, Tom Fitzgerald will become Interim Chief Executive Officer. Concurrently, the company has initiated a search for a permanent CEO for Mexx which is expected to be completed by early 2009. During this interim period, Mr. Fitzgerald will continue in his capacity as Senior Vice President, Direct Brands Services at Liz Claiborne Inc.

Mr. Fitzgerald replaces Jeff Fardell who is taking on a new role as Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Market Development for Liz Claiborne Inc. In this position, Mr. Fardell will focus on new opportunities for the company with an emphasis on market development and growth prospects in emerging markets.

Additionally, John Moore, a creative force from Abercrombie & Fitch's Hollister Co. line and Modern Amusement for Mossimo Inc., will serve as Consulting Vice President, Creative, effective immediately. Mr. Moore will set the vision for and oversee all design, product development and merchandising activities for the brand. Product influenced by Mr. Moore in conjunction with the Mexx creative team will be available in Fall 2009.

William L. McComb, Chief Executive Officer of Liz Claiborne Inc., commented on the announcement, "While we have made significant progress executing our turnaround plan at Liz Claiborne Inc, the Mexx turnaround process is at a critical juncture and we believe product enhancements, structural changes and new leadership are necessary to reinvigorate the brand and improve performance.

Mexx has many talented employees, a motivated workforce and strength in great markets. With that solid foundation, we believe Tom's track record of leading brand building efforts and brand realignments, retail operations expertise, and international experience -- including work in Mexx's key markets -- make him the right person to address the structural, creative and resource challenges Mexx faces today."

Mr. McComb continued, "The search for a permanent CEO is underway. Preferably a European, the candidate we are looking for is skilled in international brand building, with a sharp focus on enhancing margins and supply chain management, optimizing costs, building retail store productivity and nurturing wholesale relationships. I would like to thank Jeff Fardell for his service, passion and dedication to Mexx and I look forward to his continued service in his new role and his support during this transitional period."

Commenting on Mr. Moore's appointment, Mr. McComb said, "Our research shows that Mexx continues to be culturally relevant, but the brand's heritage which is fun-loving, non-conformist, European and contemporary has been missing in recent product, marketing and merchandising. John is an amazing creative talent and visionary who can re-infuse the heritage into the brand while conveying a fresh point of view.

This will ultimately help Mexx to regain its status as a beloved European brand. We believe our consumers and wholesale partners will be thrilled with the new look John and the Mexx team will develop. Additionally, we expect that the combination of Tom's brand/retail experience and operational discipline with John's identity building and product design acumen will help jumpstart this business and get it back on track."

These changes do not affect Mexx Canada, a separate operating division of Liz Claiborne Inc.

Liz Claiborne Inc

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