Dyer Departs Lands’ End, Joins Tommy Hilfiger

On July 30, a little more than a year after the company was sold to Sears, Roebuck & Co., Lands’ End president/CEO David Dyer announced that he would leave the Dodgeville, WI-based apparel cataloger, reportedly to take time off to spend with his family before pursuing a new career challenge.

The new career challenge came up quickly: On Aug. 4 clothing manufacturer Tommy Hilfiger Corp. named Dyer its new president/CEO. Dyer, 54, wouldn’t comment, nor would the Hong Kong-based Tommy Hilfiger. But it seems apparent that Hilfiger, which in June posted a quarterly loss and forecast lower revenue for the year, is looking to tap Dyer’s turnaround expertise.

“In his note to the Lands’ End team, he made the point that his job is now done,” says Lands’ End spokesperson Ann Woolman. “He came in, improved finances, positioned Lands’ End for the sale, and at this point feels confident the company can move forward.”

Dyer rose to vice chairman, merchandising and sales during his first stint at Lands’ End, from 1989 to 1994. He left the cataloger to become president/chief operating officer of Home Shopping Network and later a retail consultant to apparel cataloger J. Crew Group. Lands’ End founder Gary Comer brought Dyer back in 1998 to bail the company out of a financial hole. He did just that, overseeing bottom-line growth from net income of $31.2 million in fiscal 1999 to $66.9 million in fiscal 2002. Dyer also spearheaded the cataloger’s sale to Sears last year. Lands’ End shareholders received a 21% premium over the last trading day’s closing price in the deal.

Indeed, Dyer was “instrumental in developing the Lands’ End/Sears partnership that has benefited both companies,” says Sears spokesperson Chris Brathwaite. “He instituted the corporate culture at Lands’ End that’s now becoming so much a part of Sears too.”

Lands’ End will now be run by a three-person committee: executive vice president of merchandising and design Mindy Meads, executive vice president/chief creative and administrative officer Lee Eisenberg, and chief operating officer Dennis Honan. The leadership team will report to Sears president/CEO Alan Lacy.

“Even before this, Lands’ End had been run by a team for the most part with Dave, Lee, and Mindy all involved to some extent,” Brathwaite says. “This is a continuation of that in a more formal structure.”

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