Rue21 CEO Departs And A Successor Is Named

rue21 store front
Johnathan Weiss / Shutterstock

Fans of the brand know that Rue21 is an American specialty retailer of young men and women’s casual apparel and accessories. Recently the company’s CEO, Laurie Van Brunt, resigned as president of the teen apparel retailer after less than six months on the job, reports Chain Storage. According to reports, the company described her departure as “a mutual decision.” Van Brunt took the top spot at Rue21 in June, having come from Chico’s FAS, where she was president of Soma Intimates from 2010 to 2017.

Succeeding Van Brunt at Rue 21 as CEO is company chairman Michael C. Appel. Appel served as interim CEO of the retailer from October, 2017, until June, 2018, when Van Brunt took the reins. The company has come forward with statements on the recent departure and change of leadership. Having been so pleased with Appel’s work as CEO before, the company was pleased to state they are happy with their decision to bring him back on.

“The Board of Directors of rue21 has asked Michael Appel to re-assume the senior leadership of the company as chief executive officer on a permanent basis. Our decision is based on the progress made under Michael’s leadership as Interim CEO, his successful recruitment of senior leadership, and retaining key management.”

Headquartered just north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Rue21 currently operates 752 stores in 45 states. Rue21’s clothes are designed to appeal to people who desire, wish, or feel to be 21, and the designs are especially geared at adults and 11- to 17-year-olds. The brand has been quite popular among many, some of which were sad to see some of the stores shut down in 2017. In April, 2017, Rue21 announced plans to close around 400 stores. These closings were part of an American retail phenomenon of store closings known as the retail apocalypse. On May 16, 2017, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and emerged on September 22, 2017, after reorganization plan approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. This allowed for many stores to stay open, yet incorporating changes, some of which included the incorporation of a plus-size section. Then CEO Melanie Cox gave her statement of the plan’s court confirmation.

“We are very pleased to have moved through the restructuring process in a relatively short period.”

The brand has been in the news earlier this month as well. WWD reported then that the company began working with First Insight Inc. for the implementation of consumer-driven predictive analytics for design, buying, planning and pricing decisions, according to the firm.