Monday, February 25, 2008

Lopez Out as Blair Chief

This article appeared in the February 23, 2008 edition of the Warren Times Observer.

Orchard Brands has named Shelley Nandkeolyar to succeed Al Lopez as President and Chief Executive Officer of Blair.

Nandkeolyar has been serving as Chief Executive Officer of Norm Thompson Outfitters, another Orchard Brands company located in Portland, OR.

The announcement of the change in command at Blair was made by Orchard Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Neale Attenborough, who praised Lopez's accomplishments during his tenure at Blair's helm.

"Al has been a highly valued member of the Orchard Brands leadership team and the Blair family," said Attenborough. "He will be greatly missed. Under his leadership, Blair significantly exceeded its 2007 profit target. Al leaves Blair with a solid platform for growth."

Attenborough indicated that he and Lopez had held extensive discussions on Lopez's future at Blair.

"Al and I engaged in many positive conversations about his future with the organization. At the end of this process, a mutual decision was made to part ways."

While Attenborough indicated that Orchard Brands will miss Lopez's service and passion for advancing Blair's performance, he said that Nandkeolyar possessed the professional and personal skills to lead Blair in the years preceding its centennial.

"Shelley's extensive professional experience in the direct marketing industry will serve Blair and Orchard Brands will in the years ahead," said Attenborough. "Blair's associates will come to appreciate his commitment to both the business and their personal success."

Lopez said his time at Blair had been both professionally and personally rewarding.

"It has been an honor to lead Blair during one of the most eventful periods in the nearly 100-year history of the company," said Lopez. "I am extremely grateful for the support of Blair's associates and the community during the difficult task of reversing the company's decline. I will miss Blair, it's associates, and the many individuals in the region whom I now count as friends."

Prior to joining Norm Thompson Outfitters, Nandkeolyar was president of Home Depot Direct. He initially joined Home Depot as vice president of interactive marketing and e-business, charged with redesigning

Before joining Home Depot, Nandkeolyar was executive vice president and president of Internet/direct commerce at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and responsible for the company's direct commerce business segment, which included and the Martha by Mail catalog.

Nandkeolyar, an 20-year veteran in marketing and merchandising, launched Williams-Sonoma's online business including, and Before joining Williams-Sonoma, he held marketing positions in Asia and Europe as well as North America, including a development stint on the direct-to-consumer business involving catalog and online channels at Levi Strauss and Co.

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