March 10, 2009, 12:00 AM

Yankee Candle selects a new CEO

The Yankee Candle Company Inc. is promoting Harlan M. Kent to president and CEO. Kent, now chief operating officer, is taking over for Craig W. Rydin, who will remain chairman and CEO until Oct. 1.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

The Yankee Candle Company Inc. announced that Harlan M. Kent is being promoted to president and CEO. Kent, currently chief operating officer, is taking over for Craig W. Rydin, who will stay on as chairman and CEO through Oct. 1. Rydin will then become executive chairman of the board for two years before moving on to non-executive chairman.

Kent joined Yankee Candle, No. 367 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, in 2001. He was first head of the retailer’s wholesale division, became president in 2004 and added chief operating officer to his title the following year.

"I am both pleased and proud to announce the appointment of Harlan Kent as our next CEO," says Rydin. "Harlan is extremely well qualified for this role and has been instrumental in the growth and success of Yankee Candle. He is a strong and experienced leader with tremendous business acumen and a deep knowledge of our customer and the markets in which we compete."

Before joining Yankee Candle, Kent was senior vice president and general manager of the Wholesale Division of Totes Isotoner Corp. from 1997 to 2001. He also was vice president of global sales and marketing for the Winchester Division of Olin Corporation from 1995 to 1997. Other roles include senior marketing and strategic planning jobs at the Campbell Soup Company. He started his career as a consultant with Bain and Company.

In the same announcement, the company said that Bruce L. Hartman, senior vice president, finance, and chief financial officer has been promoted to executive vice president, chief administrative officer and chief financial officer.

"He has been instrumental in driving numerous productivity and efficiency initiatives which helped to mitigate the negative revenue impacts of this unprecedented macroeconomic environment,” Rydin says of Hartman. “We have asked Bruce to assume additional duties and responsibilities with a focus on optimizing our working capital, productivity and cost savings and this promotion is in recognition of his enhanced role.”

In January, Yankee Candle Company closed its Illuminations unit which operated an e-commerce site and 28 bricks-and-mortar stores. It also laid off 330 employees.

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