True Religion Names an Interim CEO

Los Angeles denim company True Religion said it has appointed Chelsea Grayson as its interim chief executive officer while a search for a permanent CEO takes place.

The Nov. 1 announcement followed current chief executive John Ermatinger’s announcement that he was retiring from the company where he has been CEO since 2015.

"We are fortunate to have someone of Chelsea's caliber and experience step up to lead the company as we continue to innovate our products and customer experience," Gene Davis, chair of the True Religion board, said in a statement.

With her appointment as interim CEO, Grayson, who is on the board of directors, will step down as the company’s Audit Committee chair but will remain as a member of the board.

“Being asked to sit in this seat is something I wasn’t expecting. I am so happy to get here and will do all that I can for the brand,” Grayson said. “It’s more than just a job for me.”

Before arriving on the board last year, Grayson was the CEO and a board member at American Apparel. Since her departure from that brand, she has served as a consultant for private-equity funds and is also a board member at Delta Dental of California and is on the advisory board of Marca Global.

Last year, True Religion filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy but exited a few months later. Grayson’s experience as CEO during American Apparel’s recovery from bankruptcy will influence her path at True Religion.

“The things that worked really well at American Apparel, which made us a nice target for that acquisition, were focusing on improving and enhancing the customer experience,” Grayson said. “At True Religion, we are starting from a much better place.”

Grayson will introduce fresh branding initiatives similar to the addition of Bella Hadid as brand ambassador and the Manchester United partnership. There are also plans to expand into streetwear, grow the brand’s social-media presence and cultivate stronger e-commerce tools.