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J. Crew taps former Victoria’s Secret exec as CEO

J. Crew Group has ended its yearlong hunt for a new chief executive.

The retailer announced that “after a thoughtful and extensive search” it has appointed Jan Singer to serve as CEO, effective Feb. 2, 2020. Singer, who most recently served as CEO of Victoria's Secret, will also join J. Crew’s board and assume responsibility for all aspects of the J.Crew and J.Crew Factory brands and businesses.

Singer joined Victoria's Secret in 2016, replacing former CEO Sharen Jester Turney, who served in the role for 10 years. She was charged with helping to revive the business, which was — and still is — under fire from from an array  of new, more inclusive lingerie brands. She resigned in November 2018.  

Prior to Victoria’s Secret, Singer served as CEO as of Spanx. Before that, she spent 10 years at Nike, where she led both the global footwear and apparel teams. During her tenure at Nike footwear, she oversaw the successful launch of iconic products including Nike Flyknit, Nike Free and the reset of Nike Air and was also responsible for apparel innovations including Nike Seamless, Nike AeroLoft and Nike Tech Fleece, according to J. Crew. 

At J. Crew, Singer replaces Michael J. Nicholson, who has served as interim CEO since the abrupt departure of James Brett in November 2018. Nicholson will return to his previous role as president and COO of J.Crew Group. Libby Wadle will continue as president and CEO of Madewell, reporting separately to the board. (J. Crew is planning to spin-off its fast-growing Madewell brand as a public company.)

Singer joins J.Crew as the company continues efforts to revitalize its namesake brand which has been in a sales slump. The brand's sales fell 4% in its third quarter; same-store sales were flat. 

"Jan is a dynamic leader with significant experience growing and modernizing omnichannel brands," said Chad Leat, director and chairman of the board, J. Crew. "Over the past year, we have made great progress restoring profitability at the J.Crew brand, while further optimizing our operations, thereby establishing a strong foundation for long-term growth. Jan's passion for our brand, focused vision of our potential and deep understanding of the modern consumer will be invaluable in rebuilding the strategic positioning and prestige of our iconic brand and company."

As of January 28, 2020, J. Crew operates 184 J.Crew retail stores, 138 Madewell stores,,,, and 171 factory stores.

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