RedEnvelope Chief Executive Resigns

Alison May, the embattled president/chief executive at $96.5 million print and Web cataloger RedEnvelope, announced her resignation on Jan. 24. She will remain in her position until a successor is named.

San Francisco-based RedEnvelope did not return a phone call requesting comment.

RedEnvelope release news of May’s resignation shortly before releasing its fiscal third-quarter results. Although sales rose more than 11%, to $53.0 million, and net income grew 48%, to $4.1 million, “we were expecting more robust growth,” May admitted in a statement. “Our home, new baby and children’s, gourmet foods and plants and flowers categories performed best this season, and we currently plan to build on that strength. While our jewelry category continued to grow, jewelry and our men’s and women’s accessories categories did not meet our expectations during this quarter.”

May replaced former president/CEO Martin McClanan in April 2002. It was believed that May’s management experience in direct marketing would help the gifts company continue its expansion from an online-only company to a multichannel business. RedEnvelope had launched as Giftworks Online in 1997, chainging its name to 911Gifts and finally to RedEnvelope in September 1999.

May had been chief operating officer/acting chief financial officer at children’s recreation center operator and clothing retailer Gymboree Corp. Prior to her stint at Gymboree, May held executive posts with cataloger/retailers Esprit de Corps and Patagonia.

A source familiar with the company who wished not to be identified describes the May era at RedEnvelope as rocky. The company had its share of ups and downs, literally, losing 47% of the value of its stock between the time of its initial public offering in September 2003 and an acrimonious board of directors election in 2004 (see “Board Elected at RedEnvelope Annual Meeting”).

“May was a strong general manager but she did not have a tremendous amount of hands-on multichannel marketing experience,” says the source. “But in fairness, it was not all her doing. There was already discord within the management team when she came in.”

In other company news, RedEnvelope announced that Kristine Dang, who most recently served as executive vice president, merchandising and creative, has left the company to pursue other opportunities.

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