Coldwater Creek, a women's clothing and accessories retailer based in Sandpoint, announced Wednesday that longtime leader Dennis C. Pence will step down as CEO and president but remain as chairman for another year.
Jill Brown Dean, president and chief merchandising officer since February 2011, will take over as president and CEO on Jan. 1, the company said.
The announcement came as Coldwater Creek reported Wednesday comparatively better financial results for its third quarter, which ended Oct. 27. Pence has foregone pay while making management, marketing and merchandise changes to appeal to Coldwater Creek's core customers women in their 50s and older and to bring the company back to profitability.
Coldwater Creek reported much higher gross profits and less-severe losses during the quarter.
"Our third-quarter operating results demonstrate the significant progress we have made to refine our assortment architecture and fundamentally change the way our business operates," Pence told investors. He cited good customer response to Coldwater Creek's fall merchandise and the first year-over-year gain in net sales in two years.
"We are confident that our strategic initiatives focused on revitalizing our product, optimizing our store base, and enhancing our marketing will allow us to continue our progress to position Coldwater Creek for sustained improvements in our business," he said.
Pence will continue to serve as chairman of the board in a nonexecutive role until Jan. 1, 2014, then will serve as a director, the company said.
Before joining Coldwater Creek, Dean was president of the Limited Too division of Tween Brands. She previously spent 18 years with Limited Brands, holding executive roles for Victoria's Secret flagship stores and Lane Bryant. She started her career at Limited Brands, in merchandising for the Express division.
Dean's base salary will be $850,000 as president and CEO, the company said in Wednesday's announcement. Pence will receive a retirement payment of $2 million and annual retainer of $375,000 next year as chairman.