Monday, February 11, 2008

Thanks for Stopping By

When someone leaves a job for “personal reasons,” like Gregory S. Gemette - who has resigned after heading the Arden B. division of women’s clothing retailer Wet Seal (WTSLA) for less than 2 years - I want to know the juicy details. In this case I found none, though I did unearth this photo of Mr. Gemette standing next to David Hasselhoff, which I figure is almost as good.

Whatever the scoop on Mr. Gemette’s private life in The O.C. (Wet Seal is headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California), he doesn't seem to be one for long-term relationships. From 2001 to 2003 he managed women’s merchandise for American Eagle Outfitters (AEO), then made a beeline for Bebe (BEBE), but never got there. Instead he spent 11 months at Home Shopping Network, followed by 9 months at G &G Retail (my favorite place, in my mall-loving youth, to snap up the latest teen fads in cheapo fabrics). When Wet Seal hired Gemette in March 2006, the company seemed unperturbed by the fact that this would be his fourth job in less than 6 years (not counting the almost-job at Bebe), with some gaps in between.

As Gemette left the scene last week, the company announced that January sales were down 5.7% over last year, blaming “continued weakness” at Arden B. Per the last proxy, Gemette was one of Wet Seal’s 3 most highly compensated officers, earning $716K in total comp for the 10 months he worked there during 2006. However, his contract doesn’t appear to bestow any severance pay here, so let's toss Wet Seal a few brownie points for that, and now let's cancel them out with a bunch of demerits for selling Playboy-logo clothing to teenage girls.

Strangely, Gemette’s predecessor at Arden B. also left for ”personal reasons.” I don't know what's going on at that place, but those frightful pink and orange things on Arden B.'s home page, which I guess are supposed to be dresses, look like cheap Halloween versions of the babydoll nightgowns worn in 1960s movies and would, in my book, constitute "personal reasons" to get the heck out of there.

No comments: