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CEO succession unfolds at Coldwater Creek


Women’s specialty retailer Coldwater Creek said co-founder, chairman and CEO Dennis Pence will relinquish his role of CEO at year end.

Replacing Pence and joining the board of directors of the Sandpoint, Idaho-based chain will be Jill Brown Dean, the company’s current president and chief merchandising officer. Assuming Dean’s role will be Michele Donnan Martin who joins the company as SVP/GMM responsible for all merchandising functions.

Coldwater Creek operates 350 stores and Dean joined the company a little less than two years ago as part of a senior leadership transition to restore growth and increase profitability. Her promotion to CEO was well deserved, according to Pence.

"Her outstanding leadership, combined with her intimate knowledge of our customer and our brand, gives me great confidence in her ability to continue to lead the turnaround of our company, positioning us for a vibrant and successful second chapter in our history," Pence said. "In the last two and a half years, we have recruited a management team that has the skills and determination needed to execute to success, and Jill's future role in leading this team will ensure the best possible results going forward."

Dean was an experienced apparel merchant when she arrived at Coldwater Creek in February 2011. She had spent the previous 18 years at The Limited and served as president of the Limited Too division and president and CEO of the Lane Bryant division.

Dean’s replacement, Michele Donnan Martin, joins the company with 25 years experience at retailers such as Delia’s, American Eagle, Williams Sonoma, Abercrombie & Fitch, J. Crew and Macy’s.

"Michele joins us at an important point in the company's history," Dean said. "She is a seasoned merchant with extensive retail experience and a proven track record of success in developing and building consumer brands, and I am confident she will successfully build on the product foundation we have created in the past two years."

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