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Gilt CEO Said to Lead Search for His Replacement Ahead of IPO

Gilt Groupe Inc., the website specializing in quick sales of high-end clothing, is searching for a successor for Chief Executive Officer Kevin Ryan who can help the company prepare for an initial public offering, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Ryan is leading the search, which is focused on external candidates and will be completed in the first quarter, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Gilt also seeks to sell Jetsetter, its travel division, which generates $10 million to $15 million in annual net sales, this person said.

Gilt, valued at $1 billion in a funding round last year, plans to file for an IPO some time starting in the fourth quarter of 2013 and ending a year later, this person said. Gilt began with a focus on luxury-good sales lasting about 36 hours and has expanded into regular-priced items and markets such as food and travel, moves that risked brand dilution. Ryan kicked off the search for a new CEO on concern that he spread himself too thin, said the person, who has knowledge of his thinking.

Gilt has interviewed six candidates, and is focused on people with experience in Internet commerce. Gilt has about 1,000 employees.

The company eliminated jobs at Gilt City, its local deals site, earlier this year, and is closing a men’s fashion business, Park & Bond.

Ryan will stay on as chairman and devote about half his time to Gilt, while giving attention to his other startups, including Business Insider and 10gen Inc. The search was previously reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Lance Lin, a spokesman for New York-based Gilt, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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