By Shan Li
Los Angeles Times.
American Apparel Inc. is getting some female supervision.
The Los Angeles retailer, known for racy ads featuring scantily clad models, disclosed the names of four new board members, including the first woman in the history of the company.
The board shake-up is part of a deal with New York investment firm Standard General, which recently extended American Apparel a $25-million financial lifeline.
Standard General controls a nearly 44% stake in the Los Angeles retailer through a cooperative buying arrangement with ousted Chief Executive Dov Charney.
The proposed directors include RadioShack Corp. Chief Executive Joseph Magnacca and Thomas J. Sullivan, the managing partner of a financial advisory firm.
The female director is Colleen B. Brown, who had previously served as the chief executive of media firm Fisher Communications.
David Glazek, a partner at Standard General, will also join the board.
American Apparel is acknowledging in its board choices the need for more female influence after years led by Charney, who has been dogged by allegations of misconduct with employees and sexual harassment lawsuits, observers said.
“It’s a good public relations move in the eyes of people that thought Dov Charney was disrespecting women,” said Ronnie Moas, the founder of Standpoint Research. “You are moving away from the culture that they had under his watch and taking the company in a more serious direction.”
Glazek said the board would work “to leverage the company’s strong brand” for American Apparel shareholders, employees and creditors.
“This slate of directors brings significant financial, retail and corporate turnaround expertise to the board,” Glazek said in a statement.
Some analysts expressed doubt that the new board members have sufficient retail experience or turnaround talent to save troubled American Apparel.
“This is not exactly what I call an all-star lineup,” said Lloyd Greif, the chief executive of investment banking firm Greif & Co. “This is not the inspired board choices you would have hoped to see.”