American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (NYSE: AEO) announced today that James V. O’Donnell, Chief Executive Officer, has informed the Board of Directors of his intention to retire, and the Company has initiated a succession process to be jointly led by Mr. O’Donnell and the Board. Mr. O’Donnell will continue with the Company as CEO until a successor is named and through an orderly transition period.
Mr. O’Donnell, 70, joined the Company as Chief Operating Officer in 2000 and was named Co-Chief Executive Officer in 2002 and the Company’s CEO in 2003.
“It’s been a privilege to be part of American Eagle Outfitters, and I’m proud of what our team has accomplished in building a world-class company with iconic brands,” Mr. O’Donnell said. “American Eagle continues to leverage the strength of its preeminent brand, aerie is making significant, positive strides, and 77kids is off to a great start. With this solid foundation in place, it is an appropriate time for the Company to make this transition. I look forward to working with the Board to identify our next CEO. I am especially proud of the employees we have brought together; it is an incredible team and my opportunity to work with them made my decade here the highlight of my business career. In the meantime, I will be continuing to work with our management and associates to focus on implementing our strategic plans and take advantage of the significant growth potential we see for the Company.”
Jay L. Schottenstein, Chairman of the Board, said, “We are extremely grateful for Jim’s many contributions to our Company, including achieving a high level of operating and financial performance from which we can continue to build, assembling a world-class management team, and successfully expanding our retail footprint including entry into international markets to leverage the global reach of the American Eagle brand. Jim has led the growth and development of our Company for much of the last ten years and will leave behind an organization that is well positioned for the future.”
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