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Pier 1 taps former Crate & Barrel exec for key position on executive team

Pier 1 Imports has added a veteran retailer to its executive team as it works to turnaround its ailing business.

The home décor retailer appointed Douglas Diemoz to the newly created role of president, effective July 22. He will be responsible for day-to-day operation and performance of Pier 1’s business. Diemoz served as CEO of Crate & Barrel from July 2015 to June 2017. Prior to that, he held the role of chief development officer at Restoration Hardware as well as leadership positions at Mexx, Williams-Sonoma and Gap Inc.

In other appointments, Pier 1 named Robert Riesbeck as executive VP and CFO, effective July 22. He succeeds Deborah Rieger-Paganis, who has served as interim CFO since April 2019 and will continue in a consulting role advising on key turnaround initiatives. Most recently, Riesbeck was CFO of Fullbeauty Brands. He also served for four years as an operating executive at private equity firm Sun Capital Partners.

In connection with appointments, Pier 1 is creating an “Office of the Chief Executive Officer,” led by Cheryl Bachelder, who was appointed interim CEO following the abrupt departure of Alasdair James in December. The office also includes the newly appointed Diemoz and Riesbeck, along with Robert Bostrom, executive VP, chief legal and compliance officer and corporate secretary. It will be responsible for guiding, supervising and directing Pier 1’s strategy, including its previously announced review of strategic alternatives. The company’s other executive officers will now report to Diemoz and oversee Pier 1’s operations and continued execution of the previously announced fiscal 2020 plan.

Pier 1 is struggling to turnaround its business amid sliding sales and competition from online upstarts, Walmart and Target. The chain continued to bleed in its most recent first quarter as its loss nearly tripled and net sales fell 15.5%. It plans to close some 57 locations this year and is seeking occupancy cost reductions from landlords. The company is focused on its fiscal 2020 action plan, which is designed to reset its operating model and target its business for future growth.

“Doug and Bob each bring expertise and skill sets that I am confident will be invaluable as we continue to get the business back on track,” said Bachelder. “Doug has significant experience in home furnishings, has led corporate turnarounds as well as the development of new businesses, and has a proven ability to foster winning cultures. Bob brings strong financial acumen combined with operational experience, as well as insights from his work across a range of retailers and brands and private equity.”

Bachelder continued, “With the addition of Doug and Bob to our management team, we have assembled a strong group of leaders – each contributing the essential capabilities in their individual areas of responsibility – to help drive Pier 1’s transformation. Further, the creation of our Office of the Chief Executive Officer will provide strong and cohesive oversight as we focus on providing our customer with the unique finds she expects from us and continue our work in restoring the health and promise of the business.”
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