March 3, 2009, 12:00 AM

Vermont Teddy Bear names a new CEO to help it fight the grizzly economy

The privately held retailer laid off 35 employees in January and ousted its longtime CEO Elisabeth Robert in September as part of an organizational realignment. Now it’s named marketing exec John Gilbert president and CEO.

While Vermont Teddy Bear Co. may tout cute plush bears, it’s not finding the current bear market quite so lovable.

 

The privately held retailer laid off 35 employees in January and ousted its longtime CEO Elisabeth Robert in September as part of an organizational realignment. Now it’s named marketing exec John Gilbert leader. As president and CEO he’ll take over for interim president William York.

Gilbert comes from The TJX Companies Inc., where he was executive vice president and chief marketing officer, and oversaw all marketing, including brand management, advertising, and consumer strategies. Before TJX, Glibert worked in senior marketing positions with Dunkin` Donuts, YUM !, Carlson Restaurants Worldwide, and PepsiCo, Inc.

Gilbert will manage the company’s flagship Vermont Teddy Bear brand as well as PajamaGram and Calyx Flowers.

"At TJX, Dunkin` Donuts, KFC, and Friday`s, John demonstrated that he is an expert at building great consumer product businesses and brands," says Bob Crowley, chairman of Vermont Teddy Bear`s board of directors. "John is a natural choice to help lead Vermont Teddy Bear`s next chapter of growth and innovation."

Vermont Teddy Bear is No. 179 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. Its 2007 sales totaled $57 million.

 

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