PacSun Announces Leadership Transition • Alfred Chang and Michael Relich Elevated to Co-CEOs; Brieane Olson Promoted to President • Recently Ranked #3 Teen Apparel Brand, PacSun is Exceptionally Positioned to Continue Momentum
LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–PacSun today announced a leadership transition whereby Alfred Chang, PacSun President, and Michael (Mike) Relich, Interim CEO of PSEB Group, will be elevated to Co-Chief Executive Officers, and Brieane (Brie) Olson, PacSun’s Chief Brand Officer, will be promoted to President.
Mr. Chang has served as President of PacSun since 2018 and has over 20 years of experience in the retail industry, including serving in multiple senior positions since joining the company in 2006. Mr. Relich, who has more than 30 years of retail operations and system experience, has served as Interim CEO of PSEB Group, which owns PacSun and Eddie Bauer, since August 2020 and previously served as PSEB’s Chief Operating Officer. Ms. Olson has over 20 years of experience in the retail industry and has served as Chief Brand Officer of PacSun since July 2020, and previously served in multiple senior positions since joining the company in 2006.
Founded in 1980, and acquired by Golden Gate Capital in 2016, PacSun is a pioneering brand in youth culture dedicated to delivering an exclusive collection of the most relevant brands and styles to a community of inspired youth. The company represents leading brands including Vans, Fear of God Essentials, Champion, and John Galt, as well as its own labels.
PacSun generated over $700 million in sales in 2020, representing growth over 2019, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital sales more than doubled in 2020, now representing 50% of the brand’s sales. 2021 year-to-date sales are up 105% versus the same period last year and are up 48% as compared to the same period in 2019. Digital sales in 2021 have increased 65% versus the same period last year and are up more than 170% as compared to the same period in 2019. PacSun was recently ranked as the #3 apparel brand among teens, a product of the company’s relentless focus on the brand’s strategy, strong social media presence, and partnerships with key collaborators like John Galt, Fear of God Essentials, and Emma Chamberlain.
Neale Attenborough, PSEB Chairman and Operating Partner at Golden Gate Capital, said, “Alfred has established himself as a visionary leader for PacSun and Mike has driven operational excellence through his strong stewardship of PSEB. The company is enjoying success through a strong roster of brand partnerships with the most coveted youth culture brands in the market, and a terrific bench of seasoned leaders. We are confident the company will accelerate its trajectory under the leadership of Alfred and Mike, combined with Brie’s creative, merchandising, and marketing expertise.”
Mike Montgomery, Managing Director at Golden Gate Capital, said, “PacSun is finding great success and resonating with consumers. The company’s winning brand strategy and thriving e-commerce platform has made it one of the most sought-after retailers for teens and young adults. Since acquiring the company in 2016, EBITDA has more than tripled. We are excited about the opportunities ahead for PacSun and look forward to continuing to support the team.”
Mr. Chang said, “Over the past 15 years, we have evolved PacSun to create not only a better brand for our customers, but a stronger internal culture. By focusing foremost on our community and what means most to them – not just fashion and trends, but creativity, culture, diversity, and inclusion – we have created a dynamic and relevant lifestyle brand that represents so much more than just great products. I am incredibly proud of the company PacSun is today and thrilled to assume this role alongside Mike, a colleague that I respect immensely.”
Mr. Relich said, “This is an exciting time in PacSun’s history and I am pleased to assume the Co-CEO role. It has been a pleasure working closely with Alfred over the last couple of years and I know from experience that our skills and leadership styles complement each other perfectly. We have a leading brand, strong operational and technology infrastructure in place, and a winning strategy – all driven by the best team in the business. PacSun has tremendous momentum and I believe the best is yet to come.”
Ms. Olson said, “It has been deeply rewarding to see PacSun thrive since I joined the company 14 years ago, and I am excited to continue building upon our unique brand identity. I look forward to working with Alfred, Mike and the rest of our amazing team to continue to strengthen our platform.”
As Co-CEOs, Mr. Chang and Mr. Relich will have distinct oversight of key business functions. Mr. Chang will be responsible for setting and driving PacSun’s brand strategy, including design, merchandising, marketing, retail and e-commerce. Mr. Relich will oversee operations, including sourcing/supply chain, distribution, planning & allocation, IT, finance, legal, and human resources. Both will serve on the PacSun Board of Directors. As President, Ms. Olson will continue to have oversight of merchandising/design for both Men’s and Women’s, as well as brand marketing and creative.
In a separate press release issued today, it was announced that Authentic Brands Group and SPARC Group LLC have entered into an agreement to acquire Eddie Bauer from PSEB. Upon completion of the transaction, which is expected by June 1, 2021, Mr. Chang, Mr. Relich, and Ms. Olson will assume their new roles at PacSun.
Alfred Chang Biography
Mr. Chang joined PacSun in 2006 as Senior Buyer for Men’s Merchandising and served in multiple senior positions at the company, including as Chief Brand Officer and EVP of Marketing and SVP of Men’s Merchandising and Design. Mr. Chang has over 20 years of experience in the retail industry and has been critical in establishing PacSun as a leading lifestyle retailer known for its exclusive collections of the most relevant brands and styles.
Mike Relich Biography
Mr. Relich assumed the role of COO of PSEB in November 2019. Under his leadership, the company significantly streamlined and improved operations at its Groveport, Ohio distribution center. Mr. Relich also led IT, overseeing the existing IT roadmap and improving that area operationally and financially. More recently, Mr. Relich spearheaded PSEB’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which enabled the PacSun and Eddie Bauer brands to continue to perform and operate smoothly and safely.
Previously, Mr. Relich served in various COO roles for iconic brands such as Lucky Brand, Crate and Barrel, and GUESS?, Inc. Mr. Relich also served as the CIO and SVP of e-com for GUESS?, where he was responsible for building the system infrastructure that enabled the company to grow from a $640 million North America-centric business in 2004 to a $2.3 billion global operation with over 1,700 stores in 87 countries.
Brie Olson Biography
Ms. Olson joined PacSun in 2006 as Senior Design Director (Women’s) and has held roles of increasing responsibility since that time. Prior to being named Chief Brand Officer in 2020, she held the titles of Chief Merchandising Officer and Senior Vice President of Merchandising and Design. Ms. Olson has over 20 years of experience in the retail industry and has played an instrumental role in building and strengthening PacSun’s brand through innovative strategies with a Gen Z focus.
PacSun is a leading specialty retailer offering a cross-section of emerging brands and trending fashion through the lens of youth culture. Throughout the contemporary, streetwear and active lifestyle markets, PacSun partners with the best brands to offer curated collections, rare and exclusive products, and creative collaborations on every level. Founded in 1980, Newport, CA. Curated in Los Angeles.
ABOUT GOLDEN GATE CAPITAL
Golden Gate Capital is a San Francisco-based private equity investment firm with over $19 billion in cumulative committed capital. The principals of Golden Gate Capital have a long and successful history of investing across a wide range of industries and transaction types, including going-privates, corporate divestitures, and recapitalizations, as well as debt and public equity investments. Notable recent multi-unit consumer investments sponsored by Golden Gate Capital include Tidal Wave Auto Spa, The Learning Experience, Invo Healthcare and Mavis Express Tire Services. For more information, visit www.goldengatecap.com.
Sard Verbinnen & Co