American Apparel CEO Paula Schneider to Exit L.A. Retailer

American Apparel - H 2015
AP Images

American Apparel - H 2015

After almost two years, Schneider is saying goodbye.

It's been a minute since American Apparel has popped up in the news, but just when we thought the L.A.-based retailer was getting it's groove back (and quietly, no less), the controversial company has served up a fresh plate of drama.

WWD first reported that CEO Paula Schneider, who was hired in 2015 following the unceremonious ousting of former American Apparel CEO and founder Dov Charney, will exit the brand on Oct. 3. She will be succeeded by Chelsea Grayson, current chief administrative officer and the company's general counsel. The news comes months after Paul Charron, former Liz Claiborne CEO, resigned from his position as leader of the American Apparel board.

Schneider was brought on to replace Charney and organize the brand's turnaround process, which since has consisted of a rebranding (no more super-racy ads here, folks), a back-to-basics fashion strategy and an emphasis on wholesale. But the ride has been a bumpy one, thanks to lawsuits (mostly at the hands of Charney), an attempted buyout (also puppeteered by Charney), a bankruptcy filing and protests by garment workers. (Remember the life-size Schneider pinata?)

According to WWD's sources, Schneider's exit was wholly her decision, as she felt the imminent sale of American Apparel (which was rumored earlier this year) would hinder her ability to keep the company on brand. In her resignation letter, the CEO wrote that the "sale process currently under way for all or part of the company may not enable us to pursue the course of action necessary for the plan to succeed nor allow the brand to stay true to its ideals. Therefore, after much deliberation, and with heavy heart, I’ve come to the conclusion it is time for me to resign as CEO."