December 5, 2011, 9:58 AM

Talbots’ CEO plans to retire

Trudy Sullivan will leave the company after her successor is named.

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Talbots Inc. says that Trudy Sullivan, the company’s president and CEO, plans to retire once the women’s clothing retailer’s board of directors names her successor.

Executive search firm Spencer Stuart will conduct the search for Sullivan’s replacement.

The retailer is in the midst of a transformation that began a year ago. Within the next two years Talbots will have closed about 580 stores as it shifts sales to its more profitable web channel. The process has produced mixed results. Web sales increased 0.6% in the first half of its fiscal year, and the web accounted for 14.2% of the retailer’s total sales, compared with 13.0% in the prior year.

“Her successor will inherit from her an extraordinary brand and a strong operating foundation from which Talbots will complete its transformation and sustainably create superior shareholder value,” says Gary M. Pfeiffer, chairman of the retailer’s board of directors.

Sullivan joined Talbots, No. 112 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, in 2007. She previously worked as president of Liz Claiborne Inc.

Talbots operates 551 bricks-and-mortar stores in 46 states and Canada.

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