Orange County Business Journal

Wet Seal Names New Chair

Kari Hamanaka Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Foothill Ranch-based Wet Seal Inc. has named investment banker Lynda Davey as board chairman of the teen and contemporary retailer.

Wet Seal shares were about even at $3.03 in early trading after the announcement, with a market value of about $273 million.

Davey is chair, chief executive and co-founder of investment bank Avalon Group Ltd. and one of four recent additions to the board. The four new members fill positions left open after the resignation of former Chair Hal Kahn along with directors Jonathan Duskin, Sidney Horn and Henry Winterstern.

The other new board members are Dorrit Bern, former chair and chief executive of Charming Shoppes Inc.; Mindy Meads, former president and co-chief executive of Aeropostale Inc.; and John Mills, president of retail consulting firm SDE.

The four board additions were nominees of New York-based asset management firm Clinton Group Inc., which had been soliciting shareholders for a board overhaul. Clinton Group terminated the consent solicitation last week when the resignations were announced and its nominees were accepted.

Meads was named chair of the board’s nominating and governance committee.

Bern was named chair of the compensation committee.

The four new board members join existing members Kathy Bronstein, John Goodman and Audit Committee Chair Kenneth Reiss.

Wet Seal operates 473 Wet Seal stores for teens and 81 Arden B stores for young women. It had $620.1 million in revenue last year, and has been struggling with weak sales for several years. It’s searching for a new chief executive in the wake of Susan McGalla’s dismissal in July.

Clinton Group said it’s no longer pushing for an immediate sale of the company but will consider offers as the company pursues a turnaround.