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Bebe Stores Names Jim Wiggett Interim CEO As Steve Birkhold Resigns

Apparel retailer bebe Stores Inc. (BEBE) announced Thursday that Chief Executive Officer Steve Birkhold has resigned, effective today. Birkhold will be succeeded by Jim Wiggett, currently CEO of Jackson Hole Group, as interim CEO. The company noted that it will commence a search for a permanent CEO.

"On behalf of the Board of Directors, we are excited to welcome Jim to the team. Jim is a highly accomplished executive, with proven leadership capabilities, retail and merchandising expertise and a wealth of strategic business knowledge, and we look forward to his insights into the strategic direction of the Company. We would like to thank Steve for his contributions as CEO, and we wish him well in his future endeavors," Chairman Manny Mashouf said in a statement.

Wiggett has been already an advisor to the company for the past five years through Jackson Hole Group, a strategic consulting group that he founded.

Wiggett brings in nearly 40 years of retail, merchandising, and business experience into bebe. Prior to founding Jackson Hole Group, he held several executive positions, with several high-profile companies, most recently Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH).

Wiggett has served as the president and CEO of Sephora.com, a subsidiary of LVMH. Prior to joining LVMH, Wiggett held senior positions with Duty Free Stores (DFS), the ITEL Corp., Cambridge Plan International, and R.H. Macy Corp.

Meanwhile, Birkhold has served as the CEO of bebe Stores since January 2013 after serving as the president and CEO of Lacoste North America since 2010.

Prior to joining Lacoste, Birkhold was CEO of Diesel USA, where he helped grow the top-line and strengthen the organization's infrastructure.

Earlier, he held several key executive positions at VF Corp. (VFC), including being the general manager of Nautica Jeans, president of Earl Jeans, and general manager of Lee Jeans. He began his career at May Co., where he was most recently responsible for women's denim and menswear.

bebe currently operates 227 stores, of which 176 are bebe stores, including the on-line store bebe.com, 18 2b bebe stores and 33 bebe outlet stores, including the on-line store 2bstores.com.

BEBE closed Wednesday's regular trading session at $3.36, up $0.02 on a volume of 0.46 million shares.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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