Houston-based women's retailer Francesca’s has named Andrew Clarke as the company's new president and chief executive officer, and as a member of the board of directors, effective March 9, 2020.
He will replace Michael Prendergast, who has served as the company's interim CEO since February 4, 2019. Prendergast will remain with Francesca’s for a period of time to ensure a seamless transition, the company said.
Clarke brings 25 years of retail experience to his new role, including five years of c-suite leadership positions with U.S. retailers and 20 years spent at three of Europe’s largest retail groups. Most recently, he served as president of Loft by Ann Taylor. Previously, he has also served as executive vice president-chief merchandising officer for 'tween' retailer Justice; president, Kmart apparel for Sears Holdings; chief product officer of the billion-dollar French fast-fashion womenswear brand, Pimkie; and senior vice president of buying, merchandising and design, Mim for New Look, Retailers, a $3-billion fast-fashion apparel retailer is based in Europe.
“After a thoughtful and extensive search, we are delighted to be welcoming Andrew to lead Francesca’s into the next phase of our turnaround,” said Rich Emmett, Francesca’s chairman of the board.
“We believe [Clarke's] proven track record in specialty retail, including successful transformation initiatives, combined with his experience across merchandising, sourcing, planning & allocation, and consumer insights, make him an excellent choice to lead Francesca’s brand."
“I believe Francesca’s offers a highly differentiated business model within the retail landscape with an eclectic boutique format reflecting a diversified assortment of products at very attractive price points," Clarke added.
"As consumer shopping behavior shifts towards enjoyable treasure hunt shopping experiences, I see tremendous opportunity to build on Francesca’s strong DNA to capitalize on its competitive positioning and create a truly exciting and unique customer experience across both our retail stores and e-commerce platforms."
Clarke's appointment marks the latest leadership change for Francesca's, which announced the departure of its former executive vice president and chief financial officer Kelly Dilts in July, replacing her with then-SVP and chief accounting officer, Cindy Thomassee.