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Jenna Lyons Leaves J.Crew

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Could it be that Jenna Lyons knows the writing’s on the wall for J.Crew?

The company’s long-time designer and brand icon is reportedly leaving the company after 26 years.

“Jenna and I got together and we both agreed it was time for a change,” J.Crew chief Mickey Drexler told Business of Fashion in an exclusive interview. “That being said, she’s got plans to do other things. It’s been a great run. There’s a lot of mutual respect between Jenna and me.”

Those other things Lyons has planned have not yet been disclosed. What Lyons said in a statement was: “I am excited about the next chapter for J.Crew as well as the opportunity for other creative leaders within the organization to step up and take on new responsibilities.”

Somsack Sikhounmuong, currently J.Crew’s women’s head of design will be one of the ones to step up, stepping into the role of chief design officer, effective immediately. He will oversee the women’s, men’s and children’s design teams, and the other creative departments that had been reporting to Lyons will instead report to Drexler.

The news comes amid J.Crew’s struggle with lenders over its intellectual property, and a dismal set of fourth quarter financials. Comparable sales at J.Crew fell 7 percent in the fourth quarter, revenues slid 2 percent to $695 million, and the company’s debts have climbed to more than $1.5 billion. Madewell has been J.Crew’s saving grace, as sales jumped 14 percent in the period.

A debt restructuring is reportedly up for consideration, and BoF said the announcement of Lyons’ departure is expected to be the first in a “series of strategic changes” that will help J.Crew move forward in a successful fashion.

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