J.W. Childs exec appointed to Brookstone’s board

MERRIMACK, N.H. — Brookstone, a multichannel specialty retailer, has appointed J.W. Childs executive William E. Watts as its new executive chairman of board.

Watts has been a partner of J.W. Childs Associates since June 2001. Previously, he was president and CEO of GNC from 1991 until 2001. He was also president and COO of General Nutrition, president and COO of General Nutrition Center, SVP of retailing and VP of retail operations. Watts currently serves as non-executive chairman of the board of Mattress Firm and the Tile Shop and as executive chairman of Joseph Abboud. Watts was also non-executive chairman of the board of Murray's Discount Auto Stores, EmployBridge and Fitness Quest as well as a director of Equinox and Bass Pro Shops. He earned his B.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Brookstone also appointed James M. Speltz, the company's president and CEO, as a director, and announced the resignation of Jackson Tai as the company’s non-executive chairman. Tai will remain a member of the company's board.

"The board of directors is pleased that fellow board member and national retailing leader Bill Watts has agreed to take on a more active role with Brookstone,” said Tai regarding Watts’ appointment. “He brings unmatched retailing experience and insight to Brookstone as an iconic multichannel specialty retailer. We look forward to working with Bill, our president and CEO Jim Speltz and the rest of the management team to further strengthen the Brookstone brand and continue the significant progress made over the past several years." 

Brookstone currently operates 263 stores nationwide and in Puerto Rico, typically located in high-traffic regional shopping malls and airports. The company also operates an e-commerce channel that includes the Brookstone catalog and website, as well as an alternative distribution channel that includes sales to select resellers and corporate partners. 

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