American Apparel Appoints New Chairman

Top 40 supplier American Apparel (asi/35297), which emerged from bankruptcy last month, has appointed the former head of Liz Claiborne as chairman of its revamped board.

In a letter to its wholesale customers obtained by Counselor, the Los Angeles-based retailer announced that Paul Charron, who served as the chief executive of Liz Claiborne until 2006, will be one of three new directors. During his 11-year tenure, Charron led the handbag retailer in acquiring brands such as Lucky Brand Jeans, C&C California and Juicy Couture. Charron has also served as chairman of Campbell Soup’s board and as a senior advisor at private equity firm Warburg Pincus.

Also joining the seven-seat board are Susan Davidson, former Liz Claiborne executive who currently runs Zac Posen and fashion boutique Scoop, and Bruce Fetter, chief executive of manufacturer St. John Knits. Paula Schneider, who took over as CEO after founder Dov Charney was ousted, remains on the board. The remaining three seats on the board are occupied by bondholders that now have financial control of the company.

Brad Gebhard, president of wholesale, said in the letter that American Apparel is entering a “new phase as a privately held company with many exciting new wholesale imprintable products and supply chain initiatives on the horizon.”

The changes are the latest significant step in American Apparel’s emergence out of bankruptcy. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October and received court approval for a restructuring plan in January as Founder and ex-CEO Dov Charney tried to win back control of the company. By exiting bankruptcy and becoming a private company, the supplier converted approximately $230 million in debt into equity with the ability to receive $40 million in exit capital and a $40 million loan.