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TXJ Vet is New Pier 1 Chief

Embattled Pier 1 Imports announced last week that Alex Smith will join the company as chairman and ceo, effective Feb. 19. He will succeed Marvin Girouard, who had previously announced he would retire once a successor had been found.

Smith, who will also serve as a director on Pier 1's board, spent much of his early career on the merchandising side of department and specialty stores. Since 1995, he has served as president of T.K. Maxx in the United Kingdom; executive vp - international; and most recently senior executive vp - group president with The TJX Companies.

In his current TJX posting, he has been responsible for all of TJX's international operations including T.K. Maxx, the Canadian chain Winners, and HomeSense. In addition, he is responsible for the company's European buying offices and international buying agencies.

Prior to joining TJX, Smith held management, merchandising, and operations positions with Owen Owen, Harvey Nichols, and Wallis.

Smith will get an annual base salary of $1 million, said Pier 1. His first-year bonus will range up to $750,000, at the board's direction.

Smith also is being awarded stock option grants to purchase three million shares of common stock. One million option grants will vest on the first anniversary of the date of grant. The second million will vest based on performance targets for Pier 1's 2009 fiscal year. The final million will vest based on performance targets for the following fiscal year.

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