Express CEO Steps Down After Four Years

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David Kornberg, president and CEO of Columbus, OH-based retail chain Express, is stepping down from his job and relinquishing his seat on the board of directors, staying on in transition through Feb. 21, after a disappointing holiday season.

The Express board has named Matthew Moellering, executive vice president and COO of the company, as its interim CEO and president.

Kornberg came on board in January 2015, replacing longtime CEO Michael Weiss when he retired. He joined Express in 1999 and was named president in 2012.

In November Kornberg expressed confidence in Express’ prospects for the upcoming holiday season during an earnings call, but sales fell below the company’s expectations.

“The apparel specialty retail environment continues to be highly promotional and our traffic has been challenging,” said Kornberg. “As a result, we are revising our (2019) guidance to reflect a more cautious stance given recent unexpected sales trends.”

Fourth quarter results have yet to be released, but third quarter sales at Express were up 2%, yet flat on the key metric of comparable or same-store sales; earnings also did not grow. Ecommerce remained strong at Express with a 23% increase, the same as in 2017.

“They didn’t create a strong position and stick with it,” Lee Peterson, executive vice president of Dublin, OH consulting firm WD Partners said of Express under Kornberg to the Columbus Dispatch. “That was one thing Weiss was confident about. They were a specialty fashion brand; it was really definitive.”

 

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