Fifth & Pacific Replaces CEO With Kate Spade Apparel Chief

Fifth & Pacific Cos., the clothing retailer that’s selling brands, said Chief Executive Officer William McComb is leaving and being replaced by Craig Leavitt, who heads the Kate Spade division.

The New York-based company is also changing its name to Kate Spade & Co., to reflect its “mono-brand focus,” it said in a statement today. Deborah Lloyd, the chief creative officer of Kate Spade who has reinvigorated the brand, will remain in her role.

McComb, who was named CEO in 2006, dismantled what was then known as Liz Claiborne Inc. He jettisoned scores of underperforming department-store brands and most recently reached deals to sell Lucky Brand and Juicy Couture.

Kate Spade’s comparable sales at its own stores gained 30 percent in the calendar fourth quarter, Fifth & Pacific said today. Lucky Brand’s were up 5 percent. The Lucky Brand sale, to Leonard Green & Partners LP, will be completed this quarter, it said.

George Carrara, currently chief operating officer and chief financial officer will be promoted to president, the company said.

Fifth & Pacific fell 7.4 percent to $29.50 at 5 p.m. New York time in extended trading after the announcment was made. The stock rose 1.5 percent to $31.86 at the close.

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