SPARTANBURG, S.C., July 15 /EMWPresswire/ -- Knights Apparel Inc. has named veteran apparel and home textiles industries executive Donnie Hodge President and Chief Operating Officer, it was announced by Chief Executive Officer Joseph Bozich. In his new post, Hodge will be responsible for running the day-to-day operations of the leading producer of licensed sports apparel. His direct reports will include the executives responsible for the company's finance, operations, sourcing, merchandising, sales and human resources functions. Hodge, who has over 35 years experience in operations, management, manufacturing, marketing and supply chain at apparel and home textiles manufacturers, was most recently the Chief Operating Officer of the Gerber Childrenswear division of Kellwood Company, where he helped orchestrate a re-engineering of the brand. His efforts over the past seven years drove the Greenville, S.C.-based Gerber to "Best-in-Class" metrics in the areas of sales growth, operating earnings growth, capital employed, inventory turns, SG&A and Burden costs, distribution, and price value positioning. Prior to that, Hodge spent 19 years at J.P. Stevens and successor company West Point Stevens, Clemson, S.C., where he rose to become Senior Vice President-Strategic Planning and a member of the company's Executive Strategy team. During that time, he helped turn the home textile division into the top performing group within the company, leading the effort to stabilize business processes and helping to direct the development of the Ralph Lauren Home Fashions line. Hodge began his career at Milliken and Co., Spartanburg, S.C., and held various management positions over a 10 year period there. "We are excited about adding a key member to our executive management team with Donnie's apparel industry experience, skill set, leadership qualities and track record of success," said Bozich. "This is an important step as we build on the company's already strong foundation to support our rapidly growing business. I look forward to working closely with Donnie to execute our strategies and continued growth plans." A resident of Landrum, S.C., Hodge holds a BA degree from Erskine College, Due West, S.C. Executive search firm DHR International assisted Knights Apparel in the placement of Hodge.
About Knights Apparel Inc. Knights Apparel Inc. is a leading producer of licensed sports apparel for mass market retailers, mid-tier department stores, and sporting goods retailers. The company has licensing arrangements -- many of many of which are exclusive -- with major brands, colleges and universities, as well as numerous professional sports leagues and teams in North America, including the NHL and NBA. Knights Apparel was acquired in 2004 by Milestone Partners, a private equity firm focused on the middle market. In 2005, Knights Apparel acquired Red Oak Sportswear, a College Station, Texas-based company that designs, imprints and markets collegiate licensed sports apparel and accessories to mass market retailers. The acquisition provided Knights with "direct-to-store" distribution capabilities and enhanced Knight's position as the leading supplier of licensed sports apparel to the mass market. Following the acquisition, Knights became the largest supplier of collegiate sports apparel, according to the Collegiate Licensing Company. For more information, visit http://www.knightsapparel.com and http://www.milestonepartners.com
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