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Mossimo's CFO Resigns After 8 Months on the Job

Personnel: Anthony Cherbak cites family reasons for leaving struggling Irvine-based apparel maker.


IRVINE — Mossimo Inc. said Wednesday that its chief financial officer, Anthony C. Cherbak, is leaving the struggling apparel and accessories company for personal reasons and will rejoin his previous employer.

Cherbak, who joined Mossimo just eight months ago, said Wednesday that "family reasons" drove his decision to return to Deloitte & Touche, the accounting firm where he worked for 18 years.

"As I've told the industry analysts today, there's no hidden meaning," Cherbak said. " . . . I'm on good terms with everyone here."

Cherbak, one of the first outside executives recruited by Mossimo after its 1996 initial public stock offering, will be replaced by John D. Bower, who joined the company in January as corporate controller. Bower, 36, has spent 15 years in corporate finance and accounting roles, most recently with FHP International Corp.

Chairman Mossimo Giannulli cautioned against viewing Cherbak's departure as "us getting rid of him or him leaving us because of some hidden reason. . . . I can assure you Tony is leaving for family reasons."

Mossimo's stock has been pounded in the past year by anxious investors who worry that the company has tried to grow too quickly. The stock hit a yearly high of $50.125 last June but plunged to a low of $5.875 in April after the company said that revenue and profits wouldn't match analysts' expectations.

The stock fell 25 cents a share Wednesday to $7.50 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Giannulli recently acknowledged that revenue for the remainder of 1997 would be "moderately" below levels reached a year ago. The company also said it would rein in its fast-paced program to open in-store shops at major department stores.

Two Wall Street analysts have lowered their estimates for Mossimo's quarterly and yearly earnings. Shelly Hale Young, an analyst with Hambrecht & Quist in San Francisco, recently said that Mossimo faces "significant challenges" in its bid to restore stalled sales and profits.

Giannulli said the company is taking steps designed to reverse the revenue slide. "In the end, product and net income will be the ruler," he said. "That's the way it is."

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