Ascena Retail Group has promoted Gary Muto to CEO of Ascena Retail Group from his previous role as CEO of Ascena Brands, effective May 2. He replaces outgoing CEO David Jaffer, who will remain on the Board of Directors. Brian Lynch, President and COO of Ascena Retail Group, also will leave the company, while Carrie Teffner was named Interim Executive Chair of the Board of Directors.
Muto first joined Ascena in 2008 as President of LOFT. He previously held several leadership roles at Gap, including President of Banana Republic and President of Gap brands, where he launched the Forth & Towne brand.
The new CEO will oversee the company, which owns and operates specialty apparel retailers including Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lane Bryant and DressBarn, as it works to capitalize on the expected $300 million in cost savings generated by its “Change for Growth” plan.
The plan included reducing the company’s footprint to 4,486 stores at the end of 2018, down from 5,000 stores in 2016, with another 260+ closures scheduled to occur after July. The retail group also sold off its majority stake in apparel chain Maurices for approximately $300 million.