Iconix drops as founder Cole steps down from president, chairman and CEO posts

MarketsAssociated Press

Shares of Iconix tumbled 25 percent Friday after it was announced that founder Neil Cole was leaving the clothing brand licensing company.

Cole has been president, chairman and CEO since the company was founded 10 years ago.

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Iconix said Thursday that Cole would serve as a special adviser through the end of September.

Board member Peter Cuneo was named interim CEO and chairman. He has been CEO of Marvel Entertainment and is currently managing principal of private investment and management company Cuneo & Co.

Nomura's Robert Drbul stripped his 'buy' rating from the company because of the departure. Liz Pierce of Brean Capital maintained her 'buy,' saying that Cole's exit, coupled with other recent executive departures, "should not overshadow compelling fundamentals of the licensing model."

"Iconix possesses some very strong brands with considerable growth potential, especially in the area of sports and entertainment and we believe the acquisition pipeline remains robust," Pierce wrote.

Shares of Iconix Brand Group Inc. slid $4.97 to $14.63 in morning trading. The shares dropped to a multiyear low of $13.54 earlier in the session.