- The chief financial officer and treasurer of Express, Perry Pericleous, has resigned to pursue another opportunity, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
- As the company searches to fill the role, COO Matthew Moellering will serve as acting CFO. Moellering has been the company's chief operating officer since September 2019. He served as the retailer's interim president and CEO from January to June of 2019. Additionally, Moellering was the retailer's CFO and treasurer from 2007 to 2011.
- Pericleous will work with Moellering "to ensure a smooth transition" until his departure on Nov. 12, according to a company press release.
Pericleous is leaving Express as it is in the middle of a transition.
The apparel retailer started the year "hemorrhaging cash" as stated by analysts at Wedbush. Yet, the company has been accelerating its Expressway Forward growth strategy, which aims to generate over $100 million in operating profit by 2024.
With that in mind, the company has been in the midst of creative approaches to growth. Over the summer, it launched a commission-based influencer program, dubbed Express Community Commerce, which gives style experts an "opportunity to apply their sense of style to our products, and fulfill our brand purpose to create confidence and inspire self-expression through their social networks," CEO Tim Baxter explained on an earnings call with analysts.
The retailer has also been experimenting with Express Edit — an off-mall store concept with a smaller footprint and a curated selection of its product assortment. There are five of these locations, which have short-term leases to allow for "maximum flexibility," according to Baxter. They are also serving as great marketing vehicles — new customers represent nearly 50% of its total audience.
Express had a particularly rough 2020. The company reduced corporate headcount that year not once but twice. Even before COVID-19's impact was fully realized in the U.S. that year, the company announced that it was closing stores and Pericleous said it was engaging in an $80 million expense reduction plan.
The company has also been identified as one of the most vulnerable public retailers by S&P Global Market Intelligence as of Sept. 17, with a 20.4% probability of default within the next 12 months.
"I want to thank Perry for his many years of service to Express, his support in helping to advance the EXPRESSway Forward strategy, and the important role he played in partnership with Matt to strengthen the Company's liquidity position and secure the financial health of the Company throughout the pandemic," Baxter said in a statement.