Changes At The Top at WestPoint

New York — For the second successive week, the new owner of WestPoint Home made a change in the company’s executive structure.

Bob Dale, president of WestPoint Home’s bed and bath division, was let go. A few days earlier, Lester Dupuy Sears, chief financial officer, resigned his post. Both joined the former WestPoint Stevens in April 2001.

“We are appreciative of Bob and Dupuy’s help, particularly as it related to our bankruptcy, but this company is looking to position itself as a well-capitalized global player,” said Lorraine Miller, senior vice president of finance and external communications for WestPoint Home.

She continued: “Icahn Associates is taking an active role in management in conjunction with Chip (Fontenot, WestPoint’s president and CEO). We don’t anticipate other changes in personnel in the near future. However, with ongoing operational and strategic review, management will need to ensure that the company’s skills and knowledge are adequately matched with its priorities.”

Hillel Moerman, a CPA who is director of finance and audit for American Real Estate Partners, LP, will be serving as interim chief financial officer, while the company searches for a replacement for Sears. AREP is part of financier Carl Icahn’s stable of companies, as is WestPoint Home. Icahn has been involved in AREP since 1990.

Prior to AREP, Moerman was a senior manager in the mergers and acquisitions transaction advisory group at Ernst & Young for about five years. Before that, he spent a year as an analyst with the U.S. division of the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Moerman is the second Icahn employee to step in at WestPoint. At mid-month, Icahn Associates’ sourcing expert Jeff Engel was named WestPoint’s chief operating officer.

“We’re fortunate to be able to draw on some of the strengths of the new members of management with a fresh view on business from their prior experience: Hillel’s financial expertise and Jeff’s global sourcing background,” Miller said. “We believe there’s a lot that can be translated.”

Miller said Icahn’s interest in the company will be long-term. “He has already made significant investments in this company and will continue to do so. He sees us as an opportunity to serve as a platform for future growth.” HTT

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