Bloomberg News

American Apparel Manager Quits After Butting Heads With CEO

October 26, 2011

(Updates with closing share price in sixth paragraph.)

Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- American Apparel Inc. said today that Martin Staff, head of business development, has left the company six months after he was hired to help turn around the young-adult apparel chain.

Staff oversaw the expansion of the company’s product offerings and will remain available to advise the company, Los Angeles-based American Apparel said in a statement. Staff’s contributions to the retailer were “very substantial,” Chief Executive Officer and founder Dov Charney said in the statement.

Staff was part of a group of executives, including Chief Financial Officer John Luttrell, hired over the past year at the urging of creditors to improve the retailer’s performance after losing $86 million in 2010.

“I do have great respect for what the guy has done and does do, but we did butt heads a lot,” Staff said in an interview, referring to Charney. “We did agree on a lot, but we did disagree a lot. This is clearly Dov’s company.”

Charney declined to comment for this story.

American Apparel, which operates 247 stores in 20 countries, rose 3.5 percent to 90 cents at 4:15 p.m. in New York. The stock has dropped 46 percent this year.

The retailer’s results have improved this year; sales rose 5 percent to $141 million in the three months ended Sept. 30, the biggest gain in six quarters.

Staff has been working on deals to expand American Apparel’s distribution to department stores, college bookstores and airport vending machines, he said.

For his next job, Staff, a former CEO at JA Apparel Corp. and Hugo Boss Fashions Inc., wants to find a company where he can build a brand and run the business, he said.

“I’m ready to move on and fully exploit my talents,” Staff said. “That’s what this is about.”

--Editors: Robin Ajello, Kevin Orland

To contact the reporter on this story: Matt Townsend in New York at mtownsend9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net


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