J. Crew replaces CEO after less than a year in role

New CEO is a 16-year veteran of J.Crew

Struggling fashion brand J.Crew, which spent the majority of 2020 battling bankruptcy after the COVID-19 pandemic hobbled its operations, replaced its CEO this week after less than a year on the job.

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To succeed Jan Singer, the New York-based clothing company tapped Libby Wadle, a 16-year veteran of the company. She will be tasked with overseeing J.Crew and the J.Crew Factory in addition to her current leadership responsibilities at Madewell.

"To be successful in today's retail environment, brands must have a strong sense of purpose, deep connection with their customers, and an organizational structure that rewards creativity, agility and innovation," said Wadle.

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J. CREW TAPS FORMER VICTORIA’S SECRET EXEC AMID RETAIL STRUGGLES

Singer, the former chief executive of Victoria’s Secret’s lingerie division who was credited with making that brand more inclusive with its bra styles and sizes, was pulled in to oversee J.Crew brands in January.

A woman walks past a boarded-up J. Crew storefront along 14th Street in Northwest Washington on April 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

J. CREW FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION

Once an “it” brand worn by former first lady Michelle Obama, J.Crew's fashion choices later began landing with a clunk in the highly competitive retail sector.

In May, the company became one of the first major retailers to file for bankruptcy protection after COVID-19 restrictions forced a slew of stores to close, though Singer helped the company emerge in September with a lighter debt load.

Although she says the business did so "as a reinvigorated company" with $400 million in capital and another $400 million through an asset-backed loan, troubles for the battered retail sector aren't over.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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