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Past President Michael Buckley Returns as New True Religion CEO

It’s take two for Michael Buckley at True Religion.

The board of directors of True Religion Apparel Inc. announced Tuesday that it has brought Buckley back, this time as its CEO. Buckley was previously president of True Religion Apparel from 2006 to 2010.

He will be responsible for developing and implementing the future vision and road map for the company, reporting to the board. Buckley succeeds Farla Efros, who served as interim CEO over the past six months. Efros became interim CEO in June, while continuing as president at HRC Retail Advisory.

“I am thrilled to return to True Religion and lead the company as its new CEO at this exciting time in the brand’s evolution,” Buckley said. “I look forward to working with the board of directors, Farla Efros and the entire True Religion team.”

Buckley was most recently CEO of Differential Brands Group, since renamed Centric Brands. Differential Brands owned the Hudson Jeans, Robert Graham and Swims brands. Prior to Differential, from 2011 to 2016 he was CEO of Robert Graham Designs until its sale to Differential Brands for $180 million.

Prior to Robert Graham, from 2006 to 2010 Buckley was president of True Religion Apparel. During this time, sales grew to more than $300 million from $100 million, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to over $90 million from $30 million, and market cap tripled to $850 million.

The brand’s retail platform expanded from one to 100 stores, the company expanded its product line to include T-shirts, woven shirts, knit tops, outerwear, and the denim-centric organization inked a number of licenses, including footwear, fragrances, eyewear, swimwear and accessories.

“We are extremely excited and proud to welcome Michael Buckley back to True Religion Apparel,” Gene Davis, chairman of True Religion, said. “He brings years of experience in the men’s and women’s denim and sportswear arena, including his former role as president of True Religion.

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“Michael has had many accomplishments in the apparel industry over the past 30-plus years,” Davis added, “and he brings a well-rounded and highly relevant skill set to the True Religion leadership team.”

Davis noted that Efros and the HRC Advisory team will continue supporting True Religion over the coming months.

In 2002, True Religion emerged onto the Los Angeles denim scene and helped pioneer premium denim featuring a five-needle thread at two-stitch-per-inch process known as the True Religion Super T stitch. True Religion brand jeans focuses on producing high-quality premium denim and sportswear for men’s, women’s and kids.