Wet Seal: New CEO, New Chairman

The Wet Seal Inc. announced on Sept. 3 that John D. Goodman, who has served as the Foothill Ranch, Calif.–based retailer’s chief executive officer since January 2013, will leave the company and be replaced on Sept. 8 by Edmond Thomas, who is returning to Wet Seal for a second term. Thomas had previously served as Wet Seal’s CEO and a director of the company from 2007 to 2011.

Thomas said he hopes to improve Wet Seal’s performance. “While I understand fully the complexities of navigating today's dynamic retail landscape, I am convinced there is an opportunity to strengthen the Wet Seal brand and look forward to sharing my vision for an improved Wet Seal with our shareholders, team members and customers," he said in a prepared statement.

Before his first stint at Wet Seal, Thomas worked as president and co-chief executive at Tilly’s Inc. from 2005-2007. After exiting Wet Seal in 2011, he served as a partner of KarpReilly LLC, a private investment firm which works with small to mid-size growth companies.

Wet Seal also announced that Adam Rothstein was named as its chairman of its board of directors. He replaced Lynda Davey, and will start his job on Oct. 1. On the Wet Seal investor’s site, it notes that Rothstein serves as the chairman of Big Idea Brands, a New York apparel company, and has more than 15 years of investment experience.

Also, Gregory P. Taxin of Clinton Group Inc. will join Wet Seal’s board. New York–headquartered Clinton Group has been a catalyst for change at Wet Seal. In 2012, it led a proxy war that resulted in the ouster of Susan P. McGalla, the former Wet Seal CEO and a new board of directors.

Wet Seal released preliminary results for its second quarter, which ended on Aug. 3. Same-store sales declined 12.4 percent. The quarter’s net seals were $121.2 million compared with net sales of $137.2 million for the same quarter in the previous year.