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Kasaks out, Schoenfeld in as PacSun CEO and President

By Tiffany Montgomery
June 17, 2009 4:37 PM

PacSun today said Gary Schoenfeld will replace Sally Frame Kasaks as president and CEO of the big teen retailer.

Schoenfeld, who is a former president and CEO of Vans, will take the new position on June 29. Kasaks will remain on PacSun's board of directors.

Also, board member Peter Starrett will become Chairman of the Board.

Sally Framke KasaksSally Frame Kasaks

Kasaks was hired as CEO in 2006 and became Chairman in 2007.

Kasaks has worked to reshape PacSun more than once in her tenure. The company has closed concepts such as 1000 Steps and demo, closed PacSun stores, initiated a "value store" concept in some underperforming locations.

She pushed to improve PacSun's online operations, including an improved e-commerce function and social media marketing, while continuing to sponsor the USA Surf Team.

On the merchandising side, she quickly moved to increase sales to teen girls. She dropped footwear to focus more on apparel, increased the amount of juniors clothing in the store and increased the penetration of private label in the juniors business.

Her most recent move was to shift the focus from a beach lifestyle store to a Southern California lifestyle focus, which meant dropping under performing categories such as swimwear and board shorts and increasing MMA brands and graphic-y Ts.

PacSun is the action sports industry's largest retail customer with 927 stores.

Kasaks and PacSun were honored in May at the Otis College of Art and Design 27th Annual Scholarship Benefit, along with Hurley founder Bob Hurley.

Sally Frame Kasaks and Ivar KasaksSally and Ivar Kasaks at the Otis benefit in May.

Kasaks has a storied career in retail. She led several important companies including Talbots, Abercrombie & Fitch and Ann Taylor. In her Otis speech, she said that she learned early to "always be on to the next." You can read more from that night here.

Her employment contract was scheduled to expire on Jan. 31, 2010. Under terms of her compensation agreement, she was to be paid $1,125,000 this year - a reduction from the $1,250,000 base pay in her contract.

She had been eligible for a bonus up to 200 percent of her base pay. The board did not pay a 2008 bonus, citing general economic and market conditions, and it granted her an option on 50,000 shares of company stock that vest at the end of her employment term.

Here's the company's announcement, in part:

ANAHEIM, Calif., June 17, 2009 -- Pacific Sunwear of California, Inc. today announced that Gary H. Schoenfeld, who previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Vans, Inc. and Co-CEO and President of Global Brands Group, will become President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, effective June 29, 2009.

Mr. Schoenfeld will succeed Sally Frame Kasaks, who has served as CEO since 2006 and as Chairman of the Board since 2007. Ms. Kasaks will remain a member of the Company's Board of Directors. The Company also announced that Lead Director Peter Starrett will assume the role of Non-Executive Chairman of the Board.

Ms. Kasaks said, "The Board and I are delighted that Gary will join Pacific Sunwear. Gary is an experienced and talented leader with a proven track record in building brands from both a retail and wholesale perspective. His marketing and merchandising background and familiarity with the youth fashion segment make him ideally suited for leading PacSun, and I am committed to working with Gary to ensure a smooth transition."

Mr. Schoenfeld said, "I have been a long-time admirer of PacSun, and I am excited about tackling both the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Our mission must be focused on defining our PacSun brand and store positioning in a way that captures the unique, aspirational attributes of our California heritage; strengthening our connection with our customers through a distinct combination of branded and exclusively developed merchandise; and cultivating a passion among our 11,000 associates that results in a great experience for each customer who visits us in our stores or on-line. We have a lot of work ahead to get our business turned around, yet I am very enthusiastic about our long-term prospects to be a favorite with our customers and create value for our shareholders."

Mr. Starrett added, "After an extensive search, the Board concluded that Gary clearly stood out from other highly-qualified candidates. He is a dynamic leader, and his understanding of brand relationships will be invaluable to the Company as it seeks to further differentiate itself from its competitors. We of course wish to thank Sally for all that she has done for Pacific Sunwear, and we are pleased that she will remain on the Board and continue to be a resource to the Company."

Mr. Schoenfeld, 46, is a seasoned executive with a successful track record in retailing and consumer brands. During his nine-year tenure with Vans, Inc., he led the turnaround and more than four-fold sales growth of Vans into a leading youth lifestyle brand until its acquisition by VF Corporation in 2004.

More recently, he served from 2006 until 2008 as Vice Chairman and President and then Co-CEO of Global Brands Group, a brand management and licensing company which is the world-wide master licensee for The FIFA World Cup(tm). Mr. Schoenfeld has served as a board member for several privately-held companies, including the Canadian fashion retailer, Aritzia, Inc., and 24 Hour Fitness, and he continues to serve as a director for Camelbak Products LLC. Prior to joining Vans, Mr. Schoenfeld was a partner in the private equity firm of McCown De Leeuw & Co., which he joined in 1988 after receiving his MBA from Stanford University.

Mr. Starrett, 61, has served as Lead Director since October 2006. He has served as an executive with the private equity firm of Freeman Spogli & Co. since 1998.


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