Abercrombie Hires Crevoiserat as CFO Amid Investor Fight

Abercrombie & Fitch Co., the teen retailer that’s been under pressure from activist investors to shake up management, hired Kohl’s Corp. executive Joanne C. Crevoiserat to be chief financial officer.

Crevoiserat, who previously worked at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and May Department Stores, will take up the new post next month, Abercrombie said in a statement yesterday. Crevoiserat also will temporarily oversee merchandise planning and inventory management -- duties currently handled by Leslee Herro, who will retire in September. The CFO job is being vacated by Jonathan Ramsden, who was promoted to chief operating officer in January.

Mike Jeffries, Abercrombie’s chief executive officer, is revamping his management team after four straight quarters of declining sales. In addition to promoting Ramsden to the operating chief job, the retailer has announced plans to hire two presidents to run the Hollister and Abercrombie brands. Abercrombie also has separated the CEO and chairman roles and increased the size of the board.

“Joanne’s appointment marks another important step in A&F putting in place the right organization to execute against our long-term strategy,” Jeffries said in the statement.

Abercrombie has come under fire from investor Engaged Capital LLC, which wants to see more dramatic changes at the company. Engaged nominated five directors to the board in February, saying the retailer needs a new strategy. It has called for a new top executive and pushed the clothing maker to consider putting itself up for sale.

Revamping Brands

As part of its turnaround effort, Abercrombie is repositioning its brands. The main Abercrombie nameplate will be aimed at shoppers with more money to spend, rather than teens. The Hollister brand, a California-influenced clothing line, will use low prices and rapidly changing styles to recapture customers who’ve turned to chains like Forever 21.

At Kohl’s, which Crevoiserat joined in 2007, she worked as executive vice president of finance. Before that, she handled merchandise planning and allocation at the department-store chain.

Shares of New Albany, Ohio-based Abercrombie slipped 3.5 percent to $36 at the close in New York. The stock declined 27 percent in the last 12 months.

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