Tworecke, president of Jos. A. Bank, quits

CEO says executive left clothing retailer by mutual agreement

November 04, 1999|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF

Men's apparel retailer Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. said late yesterday that Frank Tworecke, president and chief operating officer, had resigned effective immediately from the Hampstead-based company.

Tworecke, who came to Bank in February 1996, headed merchandising, marketing and store operations. No successor was announced.

Tworecke became Bank's executive vice president of merchandising after spending less than a year as president of Merry-Go-Round Stores. He rose to president of Bank in September 1996 and was named chief operating officer in March. He had helped lead a strategy in which the retailer known for business attire began to place more emphasis on corporate casual wear, which included a new format in some of the chain's 108 stores.

The resignation came just over a week after the company named Robert N. Wildrick, a member of Bank's board of directors, its new chief executive officer. Tworecke, who was a senior vice president of merchandising for a division of Federated Department Stores Inc. before going to the now-defunct Merry-Go-Round, had been among those considered for the top spot. The job had become vacant when Timothy J. Finley resigned as CEO in May.

"Frank decided it was time to move on and reached an agreement with the company to do so," Wildrick said yesterday. "He and I have been discussing it for the past two days."

The decision, which was mutual, was made final yesterday, Wildrick said. Employees who reported to Tworecke will now report to Wildrick. Tworecke was unavailable for comment.

As sales of men's suits declined and Bank strove to attract new customers with its more casual attire, overall sales at comparable stores -- those open at least a year -- have suffered. Bank's stock has continued to lose value. Last month, the company revised its projected fiscal 1999 earnings downward by 5 cents, to 15 cents a share, blaming Hurricane Floyd for hurting its sales.

The stock, which was at $8 a share in May, closed yesterday at$3.875, down 12.5 cents.

In a separate development that fits into a strategy to invest more in Internet retailing, Bank said yesterday that Internet shoppers can reach its Web site through a new link with Fashionmall.com.

The retailer announced the partnership yesterday with the online shopping mall, which offers manufacturers, retailers and catalogs. Its home page features Bank as one of its newest partners, along with several items from the Bank collection of apparel, footwear and accessories.

Since the company began www.josbank.com last year, visits to the site have been growing at a rate of more than 50 percent a quarter, the company said.

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