Destination Maternity Chief Financial Officer David Stern departed the retailer on Aug. 10, the company said Tuesday. The retailer's finance and accounting teams, led by Chief Accounting Officer Rodney Shriver, will take over until a new CFO is found, according to a company press release.
- Stern arrived two years ago and two chief executives ago, reporting to then-CEO Anthony Romano. Last September, Allen Weinstein took over from Romano, and in January this year independent director Melissa Payner-Gregor was named Interim CEO; her contract was extended last month.
Earlier this week Andrea Funk, who was CEO of copper-focused manufacturer and distributor Cambridge-Lee Industries, was appointed to the board, according to a company press release.
The search for a CFO comes after months of turmoil for Destination Maternity, which calls itself the largest designer and retailer of maternity apparel and has of late struggled with sales declines, shaky finances and executive turnover.
Romano left last year during a quarter that saw a nearly 8% sales decline and after the hire of Berkeley Research Group to help turnaround efforts and better control finances. (Romano also oversaw a failed merger with French retail and design company Orchestra-Prémaman.)
Marla Ryan was appointed CEO after she and three other "dissident" nominees, put forward by activist investors, were elected to the board. Shareholders also then swept the board, replacing members with, in addition to Ryan, Skullcandy co-founder Holly Alden, equity analyst Christopher Morgan and retail consultant Anne-Charlotte Windal. It was the "first time in recent corporate history that a majority of women dissident directors have won a proxy contest," according to Reuters.
The mess has hardly been lucrative, although things seem to be on the mend somewhat. In June the retailer posted a 24% increase in EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) and roughly flat comparable sales, an improvement over the 7.3% drop in the prior-year period. In July, the company signaled its intention to offer up to $75 million in securities over the next three years, the company said in a press release.
The activists said in a letter earlier this year that their nominees would roll out a turnaround plan of their own designed to boost profits by "rationalizing inventory and cutting wasteful spending." That lack of specificity was fine for boardroom drama, but, now that they've won, Miller and O'Malley's team are under pressure to deliver.