Rue21 has appointed Laurie Van Brunt president and chief executive 0fficer, effective June 25, 2018.
Also announced was the appointment of Michele Pascoe as senior vice president and chief financial officer, and Stephen Sommers has been named senior vice president and chief marketing officer.
Van Brunt joins Rue21 from Chico’s FAS, Inc, where she was president of Soma Intimates from 2010 to 2017. At Soma, she led the transformation of the company by repositioning the brand as an omni-channel intimates brand and elevating the fashion aesthetic to fill an opportunity in the market, growing sales from $87 million to $350 million
Prior to Chico’s, Van Brunt was corporate vice president, director of Private Brand Management at J. C. Penney from 2005 to 2010. She also previously worked for Chadwick’s of Boston; Lane Bryant and Casual Corner-Petite Sophisticate.
Van Brunt succeeds Michael C. Appel who was named interim chief executive officer in October 2017. Appel will continue to serve as chairman of the board.
Appel said, “We are very pleased to have Laurie join Rue21 to lead our management team. She is a proven results-oriented leader within all aspects of the business who has successfully led, built and turned around specialty store apparel brands. With our increased financing in place, Laurie’s leadership, our new senior team, and the utilization of innovative data analytics to drive our business, we are confident that Rue21 will be an even stronger brand that delivers outstanding growth and profit.”
Pascoe joins Rue21 from Alvarez & Marsal, a financial consulting firm, where she provided financial advisory services for various retail organizations. She also worked previously for Marsh Supermarkets and Charming Shoppes/Fashion Bug.
About Pascoe’s appointment, Appel said, “Michele is a savvy financial executive experienced in delivering financial and operational improvements and leading change initiatives. Her innovative financial leadership in high-volume, highly competitive multi-unit retail environments and direct, hands-on experience will be invaluable as we move Rue21 financially and operationally to the next level.”
Pascoe succeeds Stephen Coulombe who was named interim CFO in March 2018.
Most recently, Sommers was chief marketing officer at Vineyard Vines, a $400+ million specialty retail and wholesale apparel brand with approximately 100 stores and a growing wholesale business. Prior to Vineyard Vines, Sommers was vice president global brand marketing from 2012 to 2016 at Under Armour.
About Sommers’ appointment, Appel said, “Steve’s has the strong ability to create brands, drive growth and build teams and motivate talent. As our marketing leader, Steve has the ideal combination of creative marketing skills and savvy analytics to build the Rue brand and engage our target customers.”