Rue21 names Michael Appel as permanent CEO

today Nov 17, 2018
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After only five months, Laurie Van Brunt has stepped down from her role as CEO of R21 Holdings, the Pennsylvania-based operator of casual apparel retailer Rue21, leading the company to appoint former interim CEO Michael C. Appel to the position on a permanent basis.

Van Brunt joined Rue21 as CEO in June 2018 - Instagram: @rue21official

Appel is a graduate of Harvard Business School and Brandeis University with over 35 years of experience in the retail and consumer products industries. He is currently chairman of Rue21's Board of Directors, having previously served as interim CEO at the company from October 2017 up until Van Brunt’s appointment in June of this year.
Van Brunt joined Rue21 from Chico’s FAS, where she led the Soma intimates brand. Her arrival followed a nine-month search that began with the retailer’s exit from bankruptcy in fall 2017.

At the time, Appel described her as “a proven results-oriented leader,” and it was hoped that she would help the company to make the most of its newly secured funding in order to turn over a new leaf.
In a release published on Friday, Rue21 described Van Brunt’s departure as the result of a “mutual decision."
“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,” explained the company’s Board of Directors. “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.”
Rue21 currently operates 752 stores in 45 US states, as well as an e-commerce website.

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