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Eddie Bauer chief retires

Richard Fersch, president and ceo of Eddie Bauer, elected to retire last week, announced The Spiegel Group, the division's parent company.

Fersch was named president in 1993 and promoted to president and ceo in 1997. His departure will be effective once a successor is found.

"Under Rick's leadership, Eddie Bauer has evolved from a regional U.S. retailer to an international, tri-channel retailer, with sales growing from $900 million to more than $1.6 billion. The Eddie Bauer brand now is known worldwide and is consistently ranked among the most recognized retail brands," said Martin Zaepfel, The Spiegel Group's vice chairman, president and ceo.

Fersch said that his future plans will "include serving as an advisor, consultant and community activist."

Spiegel has hired a national search firm to find a replacement. During this period, Fersch will continue to run the day-to-day operations and Zaepfel will oversee planning and strategic initiatives.

In addition to the announcement, the company said that Eddie Bauer has realigned its organization to ensure greater consistency in its brand message and customer experience across all channels. Those changes include the addition of Mark Staudinger as vp, marketing and Paul Keur as vp, sourcing and production.

Staudinger joined Eddie Bauer in 1992 and most recently served as vp, direct media. He was instrumental in establishing eddiebauer.com.

With 15 years of sourcing experience, Keur was most recently managing director of sourcing for Eddie Bauer International in Miami. He reports to Steve Newman, president of the Eddie Bauer apparel division.

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