Rue 21 CEO out

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Rue 21 CEO out

By Marianne Wilson - 02/24/2020
Rue 21

There’s been another management change at Rue 21.

The teen apparel retailer said that Michael Appel has returned to his consulting practice and will no longer serve as chairman and CEO. Apple was tapped as CEO in November 2018 following the resignation of Laurie Van Brunt after less than six months on the job. Apple was company chairman of the time and had previously served as interim CEO of the retailer from October 2017 until June 2018, when Van Brunt took the reins.

Rue 21 has appointed board member John Fleming as interim CEO. The company described Fleming as a “career merchant and an early pioneer in e-commerce.” Fleming, who previously held executive positions at Dayton Hudson, Walmart and Uniqlo, currently serves on the boards of Bed Bath and Beyond, Visual Comfort & Company and Untuckit.

In other appointments, Rue 21 named Scott D. Vogel as chairman. He serves as a director of and advisor to companies in the midst of transition and transformation. 

"Contrary to the view that the apocalypse of retail is imminent, this is an exciting time to build relationships and serve customers," said Fleming. "Given the momentum we have at rue21, I'm excited by the opportunity to accelerate our business by modernizing our model and delivering value to our customers by building a seamless and personalized experience."

In his second stint as CEO, Apple focused his efforts on strengthening Rue 21’s senior management team. In October, the retailer named Catherine "Cat" Morisano as chief merchandising officer. She succeeded Karen Pinney, who left in what the company termed a mutual agreement. In addition, Rue 21 tapped Mary Blodgett as senior VP, stores. She succeeds Dirk Armstrong who has left the company.

Rue 21 operates approximately 695 stores nationwide.

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