Weinglass departure is denied

July 29, 1994|By Jay Hancock | Jay Hancock,Sun Staff Writer

Merry-Go-Round Enterprises Inc. denied a report yesterday that said Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass, the company's chairman, chief executive and co-founder, intends to leave day-to-day operations in December and move back to his home in Aspen, Colo.

No decisions will be made on when Mr. Weinglass steps back from day-to-day management until Joppa-based Merry-Go-Round's operations are on a more even keel, Mr. Weinglass and company officials said.

He may leave after the end of the year if results improve, but he doesn't have a firm schedule, Mr. Weinglass said in an interview.

Company officials said there are no plans to replace Mr. Weinglass as chief executive -- statements that people close to the board of directors privately confirmed.

Asked about succession plan ning, Mr. Weinglass said: "It's much too premature to talk about that. I guess we'll all sit around at Christmas and see what we come up with. If Christmas (business) is good and back-to-school is good, I probably would leave day-to-day" operations.

He said he "probably" will be at the company later than December.

Mr. Weinglass founded the fashion retailer in 1969 and built it into a national chain with the late Harold Goldsmith. He ended active in volvement more than a decade ago, however, and has lived in Aspen in recent years while retaining the title of chairman.

He returned last September, after losses and plunging sales prompted a financial crisis that forced the company to seek refuge in bankruptcy court. At the time, he said he would work only for about six months as a consultant. Later, Mr. Weinglass assumed the title of chief executive and took a higher salary.

But he maintains that his presence in Joppa has always been temporary. "I don't have a set time" to leave, he said. "All I know is I'm not going to be here no five years. I've always said I'll be leaving when things are in line.

Mr. Weinglass said Merry-Go-Round is showing signs of improve ment. Sales in its established stores for July should be better than June results, which were down 16 percent, he said. He declined to disclose a figure. He said he is optimistic about fall sales and pleased with executives he hired to run the company's Merry-Go-Round stores and Chess King/Dejaiz unit.

But one analyst isn't impressed.

"In my opinion they have not accomplished much," said Peter Schaeffer, analyst with New York investment house Dillon, Read & Co. "They have not closed many stores. They have not come up with any dramatic new merchandising concepts."

For the quarter ended April 30, Merry-Go-Round lost $24.1 million on revenue of $169 million.

The company disputed a report in the Daily Record, a Baltimore-based business and legal paper, that said Mr. Weinglass will step back from day-to-day work in December and quoted him as saying, "I've done as much as I'm going to do."

The Daily Record said its story was accurate.

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