Talbots on hunt for new CEO

HINGHAM, Mass. — It’s official: Talbots Inc. is seeking a new CEO as it works to turn around its struggling business. The retailer said Monday that president and CEO Trudy Sullivan plans to retire as soon as a successor is named.

The company said it has created a search committee of independent board members and hired executive search firm Spencer Stuart to assist in its search.

The announcement comes less than a week after Tablots reported its third loss in the past four quarters and detailed plans for a turnaround, which included such cost-cutting measures as job cuts, closing stores, reducing employees' hours, and suspending national advertising and TV campaigns for the short term and reducing inventory. Talbots has posted an annual loss in three of the past four years. It lost $22 million in its most recent quarter.

Sullivan has served as CEO since Aug. 1, 2007, when she was hired to turn around the company. But the chain has struggled to regain its footings in the wake of the recession, beset with fashion missteps and more budget-conscious consumers.

Sullivan will remain as president, CEO and a board member until Talbots finds a new chief.