Chris Stone president exits in shake-up

Vernon, Calif. – In a major change of management and direction, long-time Chris Stone, Inc. executive Mark Aizawa resigned as president of the vertical domestic textile business, effective yesterday.

Aizawa’s resignation follows the departure last Friday of Andrea Bernstein, who served as director of merchandising and marketing at Chris Stone, which is a textile dryer, printer and finisher.

Brian Wygle, a professional interim ceo, will head the company as acting ceo. The company will begin “an active search” for a new company head, Wygle said. “I have been appointed by the board, and I have been a professional interim ceo for 25 years.”

At the same time, Jay Swirbul has been named vp of sales and marketing. Swirbul, who will work out of the company’s offices in Florida and North Carolina, for the past six years has been the company’s sales representative in the southeast.

Wygle, who has been retained by the board since March “as a very high level temporary employee,” told HTT, “Sometimes there is a need to shake things up a bit. There’s a better way to do things. We know who we are.”

The company, he explained, has solid design capabilities and will do more custom work than in the past. “We will broaden our exposure in solids and turn production in the U.S. quickly.”

He added, “We’re a sales company and a manufacturing company. We have outstanding merchandising services and have enough expertise in the art department plus outside art experts. In addition, we brought in a couple of new people in finance and customer service, etc.”

Discussing Swirbul’s role, Wygle said, “We wanted to use more of his expertise in the sales area to meet customers’ expectations better.” The goal, he explained, “is to run the company more efficiently, tighten the focus and restructure the reps for better efficiency.”

As for management, he added, “they need to learn to reproduce themselves.”

Aizawa had been with the company for 21 years, the last eight as president.

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