- Centric Brands added two new leadership roles as it seeks strategic growth following its emergence from Chapter 11 last fall.
- The brand collective and licensing specialist tapped Sid Keswani as president of Centric Brands. Keswani previously served as president of jewelry retailer Pandora's North American division, according to a press release.
- Centric Brands also added Bain & Co. adviser Ruth Hartmanman to its board. Hartmanman previously was president of Lord & Taylor, overseeing digital, merchandising, stores and marketing.
Centric Brands CEO Jason Rabin touted the operational and digital chops of Keswani and Hartman as the company works to execute on its "strategic growth initiatives."
Rabin said of Hartman, "Ruth has a great deal of knowledge and experience in the digital space that can help us capitalize on one of our key growth initiatives of expanding our online revenue." Prior to Lord & Taylor, Hartman was chief merchant of online clothing rental specialist Le Tote (which acquired Lord & Taylor in 2019 before filing for bankruptcy last year).
Before overseeing Pandora's operations on the continent, Keswani served as CEO of grocer Fiesta Mart and also spent 19 years with Target. "Sid's extensive operational experience and strong leadership capabilities will help to drive efficiencies throughout the organization," Rabin said about Keswani in a statement.
Centric filed for bankruptcy last year amid the disruption to retail in general and apparel in particular wrought by COVID-19. It was forced to shut its stores (mostly under the BCBG, Robert Graham and Joe's Jeans banners). Centric's wholesale business suffered as well as stores that sold its products closed as well, according to court papers from its Chapter 11 last year.
Since launching as a consumer products company in 1987, Centric Brands has gone through several names and incarnations. Over the years, it grew its portfolio of licensed products and private labels to include products under the Calvin Klein, Frye, Jessica Simpson, Nautica, Joe's Jeans, Timberland, Tommy Hilfiger and Under Armour brands, among others.
In all, the company's portfolio has more than 100 licensed brands as well as owned brands. The company has a heavy presence in kids apparel, which has suffered from school closures.
Its bankruptcy helped the company shed $700 million in debt and turned control over to financial firms Blackstone (its majority sponsor), Ares Management and HPS Investment Partners.
As they look to strengthen the company, Hartman and Keswani pointed to digital tools and data as paths to growth and better performance.