Destination Maternity CEO is out in wake of failed merger

Destination Maternity is changing leadership after a failed effort to merge with a French-based child’s clothing company.

CEO Anthony M. Romano and the board agreed he would step down Sept. 7, opening a search to find a new CEO.

Allen Weinstein, who has served as a director on the board since January 2010, will fill the role in the interim.

The Moorestown-based Destination Maternity announced in December a definitive agreement to merge with Orchestra Prémaman, which makes children’s clothes, footware and other products, along with maternity fashion.

But, by July, the merger was off and Destination was agreeing to pay certain costs Orchestra had incurred.

“Despite the investment of significant time, effort and resources into the proposed merger with Orchestra Prémaman, it was ultimately not completed,” Romano said. “Consequently, my fellow board members and I have reached a mutual decision that now would be a good time to make a change to allow for a fresh look at Destination Maternity. As such, at close of business on Sept. 7, I will leave the company.”

Additionally, Barry Erdos, an independent director, has been elected to succeed Arnaud Ajdler as non-executive board chair, effective immediately.

“This is a decision that both Tony and the board felt was in the best interest of Destination Maternity,” Erdos said of the decision to part ways with Romano. ”We thank Tony for his leadership through a difficult and transformative period in an extremely challenging retail environment.”

From August 2009 to August 2012, Weinstein served as the CEO and a director of Body Central Corp. He was also executive vice president-chief merchandising officer of The Cato Corp. from 2005 to 2009.

Erdos is currently a consultant in the retail industry, after having served as CEO of F.A.O. Schwarz Inc. from March 2009 until its acquisition by Toys R Us in May 2009.

Before that, he was president, chief operating officer and a director of Bluefly Inc.