Pumpkin Patch's merchandise and brand director Di Humphries has been appointed chief executive of the children's clothing retailer, effective immediately.
Chair Jane Freeman said Humphries was an "extremely strong" internal candidate who the board couldn't ignore, and who has had a "huge impact" since joining the company last year. Humpries, the former head of Hallenstein Glasson's women's wear chain, was seen as the leading contender to replace Neil Cowie, who resigned earlier this month to take the top job at hardware retailer Mitre 10 (New Zealand).
"The ongoing evolution of our products and brands across global markets will be critical to the long-term success of the business so it is a significant advantage to have Di using her exceptionally strong skills in those areas to lead the company into the future," Freeman said in a statement.
Humphries said her immediate focus will stay on product design, branding and the supply chain, "which are key to delivering kids and parents around the world the brand experience they expect of Pumpkin Patch."
The shares gained 1.1 per cent to 90 cents today, and have dropped 34 per cent this year. The stock is rated an average 'hold' based on four analyst recommendations compiled by Reuters, with a median target price of $1.17.
Humphries' background includes experience as a buyer for Ezibuy and for Pumpkin Patch before she was hired by Hallenstein, where she ran its Australian operations before becoming the group's chief buyer and ending up in charge of the Glassons chain.