Harry & David hires a Guitar Center executive as CEO

October 24, 2011 11:48 AM

Gifts and gourmet foods retailer Harry & David Holdings Inc. obtained a new lease on life after emerging from bankruptcy reorganization in September. Now Harry & David, No. 103 in the Internet Retailer Top 500, has a new CEO to guide the company.

Harry & David has hired veteran direct marketing and e-commerce executive Craig Johnson as the next CEO. Johnson was chief supply officer for Guitar Center Holdings Inc. (No. 44) and chief executive of Guitar Center’s direct marketing business, Musician’s Friend. Johnson also has worked in various marketing and merchandising jobs at Oriental Trading Co., Golfsmith International Holdings Inc., Coldwater Creek Inc., The Austad Co. and Music Sound Exchange, a Time Warner company.

Johnson, who takes over as CEO from restructuring specialist Kay Hong, will start his new duties on Oct. 25.

Harry & David filed for bankruptcy in March to secure $100 million in exit financing from its current lenders and an additional $155 million of debtor-in-possession financing from its senior and junior note holders, the company says.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware approved a reorganization plan for Harry & David in early September and the company officially emerged from bankruptcy Sept. 14. Under the reorganization plan Harry & David converted about $200 million of outstanding notes into equity in the newly reorganized company and procured a $100 million revolving loan commitment to fund company operations.




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