Retailer Wet Seal Inc. said Thursday that it had hired the chairman of a leather goods chain as its chief executive -- the third in two years.
Joel N. Waller plans to begin work Feb. 1, a day after he relinquishes his post at Wilsons the Leather Experts Inc.
"Joel brings a great deal of experience in the retail industry and has recently successfully achieved a restructuring at Wilsons Leather," Wet Seal Chairman Henry Winterstern said.
That experience probably will be key at Wet Seal, which is overhauling itself as part of a deal with investors to keep it out of Bankruptcy Court. The Foothill Ranch-based parent of the Wet Seal and Arden B chains expects to close some of its 559 stores.
Waller has worked for Minneapolis-based Wilsons, which operates 453 stores, for nearly three decades. It is unclear whether he will be able to woo back the teenage girls who have abandoned Wet Seal, said B. Riley & Co. analyst Jeffrey Van Sinderen.
Waller will succeed Joseph Deckop, who has been interim chief executive since Peter Whitford quit last month. Whitford had replaced Kathy Bronstein, who was fired amid sliding sales.