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Claire's promotes James Conroy to Corporate President
Apr '09
Claire's Stores Inc, a leading specialty retailer offering value-priced fashion accessories and jewelry, announced the promotion of James G. Conroy to President of the Company. As the second highest ranking corporate executive, Jim will continue to report to Gene Kahn, CEO.

In his expanded role, Jim will now supervise the management of the Corporate Merchandise function which has responsibility for global merchandise concept, product development, and supply chain. Corporate Merchandise encompasses the areas of fashion, trend and product innovation; product design and development; and RSI, our global buying and sourcing group based in Hong Kong.

He continues to have responsibility for Global Strategy, Initiatives and Implementation; Global Information Technology; and our International Division which oversees the franchising and joint venture businesses. On an interim basis, he also has responsibility for North American Stores and the North American Real Estate and Construction functions. Each of the six senior executives with responsibility for these functional areas will report to Jim.

"Jim has effectively functioned as my partner and co-architect in leading the Corporate Senior Management Team in our quest to clarify and strengthen our brands and the charge to improve sales performance and positively impact results. This promotion recognizes the contribution he has made and further divides the leadership responsibilities between the two of us.

He has proven his abilities as a strategic thinker and demonstrated a strong merchandise affinity, as well as exhibited formidable leadership and management skills. Jim, Kenny Wilson, the President of Europe, and I will serve as the senior executive leaders of our Senior Management Team as we pursue our corporate objectives and priorities."

"His passion, spirit, and enthusiasm have fueled the culture we have engendered globally. I am proud that we can recognize his contribution with this promotion and look forward to improved sales and EBITDA growth," said Gene Kahn.

Since Jim's appointment as Executive Vice President in December 2007, he has played a key role in building the foundation to redefine and reposition the Claire's and Icing brands, conceptualizing and implementing a buying cycle, and positioning both Claire's globally and Icing in North America as the dominant retailer of fashion accessories and jewelry for kids, tweens, teens and young women.

He also lead the preliminary research and the initiative that identified major areas of cost reduction opportunity in early 2008 that became the Cost Savings Initiative we began in Quarter 2 resulting in approximately $16 million in savings in Fiscal Year 2008 and laid the groundwork to realize an additional $40 to 45 million savings for Fiscal Year 2009.

After the acquisition by Apollo in May 2007, Jim worked as a full-time consultant to the Company and was instrumental in the initial progress we made in bringing further operating disciplines, improved structure, and the development of the strategic architecture that we have subsequently implemented.

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