James Petty has joined private equity owned Vestis Retail Group as CEO, effective July 8, to drive new growth opportunities.
Petty joins Vestis, parent company of Bob’s Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports, after serving since 2007 as president of retail stores for Carter’s Inc. Petty left Carter’s last December after a restructuring resulted in Carter’s relocating its retail group to its Atlanta headquarters from Connectticut. Prior to Carter’s, Petty held senior roles at Limited Too and Gap, Inc.
He replaces current Vestis CEO Mark Walsh who also serves as a managing director of Versa Capital Management, the private equity firm that owns Vestis. Walsh will remain as chairman of Vestis and said, "we're pleased to welcome Jim Petty to Vestis, and believe he is the right leader for the company at this point in time."
The hiring Petty is intended to help regional operators Bob’s Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports achieve a new level of growth and success, according to Gregory Segall, CEO of Versa.
"This is a long-planned and natural leadership transition at this stage of Vestis's development," Segall said. "Throughout the past five years, Mark has done a tremendous job in realizing the potential at Bob's and he led the acquisition and initial transformation at EMS, positioning it for growth. We're looking forward to Mark's contributions to our existing and future investments in the Versa portfolio of companies."
Bob's Stores, based in Meriden, Conn., was founded in 1954 and operates 35 stores in six northeastern states. The product assortment at Bob’s is focused on casual fashion, denim, active wear, team wear and footwear offered at affordable prices. Eastern Mountain Sports, based in Peterborough, N.H., was founded in 1967 and operates 68 stores in 12 states where it is focused on outdoor categories with origins in climbing sports.
Their private equity owner Versa is based in Philadelphia where it oversees investments totaling $1.2 billion. The firm said it is focused on control investments in special situations involving middle market companies where value and performance growth can be achieved through enhanced operational and financial management.