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Destination Maternity's CEO steps down as board taps turnaround specialist as chairman

As part of the shuffle, Lisa Gavales to helm newly created interim 'office of the CEO'

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Destination Maternity operates nearly 1,012 retail outlets in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico under the Motherhood Maternity, A Pea in the Pod, and Destination Maternity brands

Destination Maternity Corporation (NASDAQ:DEST) announced Thursday that Marla Ryan would step down as chief executive officer "by mutual agreement” with the board.

Ryan who has served as CEO since May of last year will assist with the transition.

The Moorestown, New Jersey retailer said Ryan will have a new role as president of product design, sourcing and merchandising.

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The board has created an “office of the CEO” on an interim basis to provide leadership and oversight of day-to-day operations while the company initiates a CEO search.

Board member Lisa Gavales will serve as chair the newly created CEO office, which will also include Ryan and CFO Dave Helkey.

“As the company strives to improve its performance and deliver profitable growth, the board unanimously determined that the company would benefit from new leadership and enhanced execution,” said Gavales.

Shares were under pressure Thursday, falling sharply to $0.76 per share in late-afternoon trading.

Turnaround specialist on the board

The retailer also said turnaround specialist Gene Davis will join the company’s board and serve as chairman.

Davis is the CEO of the PIRINATE Consulting Group, a consulting firm specializing in turnaround management, M&A, and strategic planning. He also has extensive retail experience as the former vice chairman of Emerson Radio Corporation and former CEO of Sport Supply Group Inc, a direct-mail marketer of sports equipment.

“Gene is a uniquely talented executive who brings highly relevant turnaround management and strategic planning experience that will be valuable to the board as we look to strengthen the business,” said Gavales.

'Challenging' quarter

Destination Maternity reported a “challenging start to the year’ as first as first quarter earnings showed slumping sales.

For the quarter ended April 2019, the retailer posted earnings of $0.04 per share on revenue of $94.2 million. Revenue fell 8.7% compared to the same quarter a year ago.

Destination Maternity operates nearly 1,012 retail locations, including 485 stores in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico under the Motherhood Maternity, A Pea in the Pod, and Destination Maternity brand names.

Contact Uttara Choudhury at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter@UttaraProactive 

Quick facts: Destination Maternity Corp

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NASDAQ:DEST
Market: NASDAQ
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