Forever 21 has a new head honcho.
Winnie Park has been named chief executive officer of the Los Angeles-based brand. She succeeds Daniel Kulle, the H&M executive who resigned from the top spot in October after less than two years. Park’s appointment is effective immediately.
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Park joins Forever 21 from Paper Source, where she served as CEO for the past six years and is credited with transforming the company from a brick-and-mortar retailer to a lifestyle brand with a strong digital platform and led the successful sale of the brand to an affiliate of Barnes & Noble.
At Forever 21, she will report to Marc Miller, CEO of SPARC, the joint venture between Authentic Brands Group and Simon Property Group that bought Forever 21 out of bankruptcy in February of 2020 for $81.1 million, not including another $73 million for the goods already bought and other costs.
“We are thrilled to have Winnie join the Forever 21 team,” Miller said. “She is an inspirational leader and team builder who brings deep omnichannel experience and a track record of successfully growing businesses with particular strengths in strategy, merchandising, marketing and branding. As CEO, Winnie will add fresh perspective and approaches in connecting with the Forever 21 customer, which will help drive Forever 21 from its current $2 billion sales level to new heights of success as a leading brand in SPARC’s Fashion and Lifestyle brand portfolio.”
Park added that “as a longtime shopper and admirer of the brand,” she is “honored to join Forever 21 at such a pivotal time of reinvention and reinvigoration. I am looking forward to partnering with this exceptional leadership team to continue the transformation of this brand with a focus on the Forever 21 community including its people, purpose and business priorities across digital and traditional retail channels.”
Prior to Paper Source, Park spent nine years at the Hong Kong-based DFS, a division of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, where she was responsible for launching the company’s first global e-commerce site for fashion, beauty, watches and jewelry, and spirits for customers in China, Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the U.S. She started her career at McKinsey & Co. in San Francisco and also worked as the head women’s merchandiser for Dockers at Levi Strauss and Co.
She is currently on the board and audit committee of Dollar Tree, and is on the board for Women in Retail Leadership. She has also served as an independent director and member of the compensation and governance and audit committees for Express.
Forever 21 was founded by Do Won Chang and his wife Jin Sook in 1994 and grew quickly by offering trendy fashions at low prices, but ultimately the company was unable to navigate its aggressive international expansion. It filed bankruptcy and was purchased by ABG and SPARC through that process. It now operates 540 stores around the world.
In addition to Forever 21, ABG and SPARC also own Eddie Bauer, Brooks Brothers, Nautica, Lucky Brand and Aéropostale.