Burlington Stores prepares leadership succession plan

Burlington Stores Inc., a Burlingon-based retailer of branded apparel, has prepared a leadership succession plan due to its chairman, CEO and president stepping down from his post.

Thomas Kingsbury, chairman, CEO and president, will step down as CEO on or about Sept. 16 after serving in the role for more than 10 years, Burlington Stores announced on Tuesday.

Kingsbury, Burlington said, will continue to support the company as executive chairman of the board of directors during the transition.

Michael O’Sullivan, the former president and chief operating officer of Ross Stores Inc., will join the company on or about Sept. 16 and take over as CEO. He has also been named to the board.

“Given our tremendous progress and the strong foundation we have established, the board and I believe now is the right time to transition to new leadership,” Kingsbury said. “Michael brings extensive experience and a proven record of success in the off-price retail business, and his team-oriented leadership style makes him a natural fit for our organization. We believe that Michael is uniquely qualified to lead Burlington in its next phase of growth.”

Prior to joining Ross Stores, O’Sullivan was a partner at Bain & Co.

“Under Tom’s leadership, Burlington has delivered outstanding operating results. Looking forward, I continue to see additional potential for comparable store sales growth, expansion of the store fleet, and improvement in operating margins.  I am honored to be appointed CEO of Burlington and look forward to working alongside the leadership team during such an exciting and promising time,” O’Sullivan said.

Jennifer Vecchio, current chief merchandising officer and principal at Burlington Stores, was named to the newly-created role of president, chief merchandising officer, effective immediately. She will continue to be responsible for merchandising and planning as well as marketing and strategy.

Vecchio joined Burlington as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer in May 2015 after being a consultant to the company for 18 months. From 1997 to 2011, she held various positions in merchandising at Ross Stores including executive vice president of merchandising for mens/kids. From 1988 to 1997 she held various merchandising position at Macy’s.

“Jennifer has outstanding merchandising and leadership skills, strong relationships with the vendor community and a deep understanding of our business model. She is an energetic and inspirational leader, and the board and I believe she will continue to drive the company’s merchandising and marketing strategies as president and chief merchandising officer,” Kingsbury said.

“I am privileged to have served alongside an outstanding team during my time as CEO, and thank our board, leadership team and employees across the country for their dedication and commitment.”