David Jaffe Steps Down as Chairman, CEO of Ascena Retail Group
David Jaffe has retired from his role as CEO and chairman of the board of Ascena Retail Group, though he remains on the board, the company announced. Gary Muto, who until Wednesday was president and CEO of Ascena Brands, will replace Jaffe and join the board. Ascena Retail Group sells apparel and accessories for women under the premium fashion segment (Ann Taylor, Loft, and Lou & Grey), value fashion segment (Maurices and Dressbarn), plus fashion segment (Lane Bryant, Catherines and Cacique), and for tween girls under the kids fashion segment (Justice). The company operates approximately 4,500 stores throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
Ascena also announced the departure of Brian Lynch, president and chief operating officer. Lynch led Ascena’s transformation plan which is on track to deliver a run rate cost savings of $300 million by July 2019, the company said.
Total Retail's Take: The management shakeup at Ascena doesn't come as a surprise. The company is working to turnaround its business amid uneven performance across its different divisions and a challenging environment for mall-based apparel retailers. In its most recent quarter (ended Feb.2), Ascena reported a wider-than-expected loss and slumping sales at several of its banners. While both Ann Taylor and Loft led with same-store sales gains, comp sales fell 8 percent in the company’s plus fashion segment and were flat at value fashion. Jaffe's departure means for the fist time in its history, Ascena Retail Group will no longer be led by a Jaffe. David's father and mother, Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe, founded the company (then called Dressbarn) in 1962 in Stamford, CT. Elliot served as a director since 1966, chairman of the board until 2011, CEO until 2002, and as nonexecutive chairman of the board until his retirement in December 2016. In 2002, David Jaffe succeeded his father as CEO.