Growth retailer Rue21 expands board

Yankee Candle Company president and CEO Harlan Kent is the newest member of the specialty apparel retailer Rue21’s board of directors.

Rue21 is a rapidly expanding specialty apparel retailer that currently operates 810 stores in 46 states
Kent, 49, joined Yankee Candle in 2001 as SVP of the company’s wholesale division and was named president in 2004. He became COO in 2007 and was named CEO in 2009. Before joining Yankee Candle, Kent was SVP of global wholesale for Totes Isotoner, a Bain Capital portfolio company. Before joining Totes Isotoner, he held senior marketing and sales roles with the Winchester Division of Olin Corporation and The Campbell Soup Company. He started his career as a consultant with Bain and Company. Most recently, he gained notoriety for appearing in the March 30 episode of the CBS television show Undercover Boss.

"I am delighted to welcome Harlan to our board,” said Bob Fisch, chairman and CEO of Rue21. His senior leadership experience in the retail sector and expertise in brand building and strategic marketing will make Harlan a valuable addition to our team. We look forward to benefiting from his perspective and experience as we continue to pursue new opportunities to expand our business."

Kent will serve on the compensation committee of the Rue21 board and his addition gives the company a total of eight directors, seven of whom are regarded as independent.

Kent joins a board loaded with retail experience. For example, Dollar Tree co-founder and chairman Macon Brock serves on the board and he is also on the board of Lumber Liquidators. Also on the Rue21 board is Arnold Barron, a long time executive with The TJX Companies who retired in 2009 as senior executive vice president and group president. Barron also serves on the Dollar Tree board with Brock. Veteran retailer and current BJ’s Wholesale Club president and CEO Laura Sen is on the board along with Bruce Hartman, the former CFO of Yankee Candle who worked alongside Harlan Kent for the two year he was at Yankee Candle.