Ward takes voyage with Maidenform

Don Hogsett, August 13, 2001

Resurfacing as a top executive after an absence of eight months — since leaving WestPoint Stevens last December after a 23-year career at the major mill — textiles veteran Tom Ward has joined intimate apparel producer Maidenform USA as president and ceo.

"It's something a little different than I'm used to — just a little," joked Ward. "And please, spare me the jokes. I've heard everyone one of them. You can't believe how many times I've been told how 'uplifting' the new job is going to be."

In fact, Ward told Home Textiles Today, "There are a lot more similarities than differences between the two companies. It's not that dramatically different from home textiles. You're dealing with a consumer product that's easily commodotized, despite a great brand name, with the same distribution channels and the same customer base."

Ward succeeds former Maidenform ceo Paul Mischinski and has a mandate to restore the fortunes of a once proud, once rich company with a premier American brand name. "It's going to be an interesting challenge," said Ward. "It's a great brand, a great franchise, but one that needs some development, a little polishing up."

Ward added, "I just got through my first intimate apparel market, and that is just a little different from the home textiles market. But you'd be surprised how many familiar faces there were, a lot of home textiles veterans who have moved over to a new industry. It really is a small world."

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