Pier 1 Imports Hires Turnaround Expert as CFO

Deborah Rieger-Paganis says she is "committed to instilling financial discipline across the organization as we work to drive a successful turnaround."
Matthew HellerApril 18, 2019

Pier 1 Imports named a restructuring expert as interim CFO to help lead a turnaround effort that has yet to deliver results.

The struggling retailer said Wednesday that Deborah Rieger-Paganis, a managing director in the turnaround and restructuring practice at global consulting firm AlixPartners, will replace Nancy Walsh as finance chief.

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Rieger-Paganis has more than 30 years of experience leading retail companies’ finance organizations and business operations. At AlixPartners, she has served as interim CFO to companies including Aritzia, Toms Shoes, Harris Interactive, and Cirque du Soleil.

“Deb has a wealth of finance, retail industry and turnaround experience, and we are pleased to have her join the Pier 1 team,” interim CEO Cheryl Bachelder said in a news release. “Deb has worked closely with the leadership team in a consulting capacity in recent months, and I am confident her expertise will continue to be a valuable asset in leading our finance organization.”

Deborah Rieger-Paganis, AlixPartners

Rieger-Paganis’s appointment came as Pier 1 reported a fourth straight money-losing quarter amid increasing competition from rivals such as Williams-Sonoma and

For the fourth quarter, the Fort Worth, Texas-based company lost $68.8 million, or 85 cents a share, on sales of $412.5 million. Analysts had been expecting a loss of $18 million, or 22 cents a share.

“Our fourth-quarter sales and profitability were disappointing and reflect the execution issues we identified earlier in the year and have been working with urgency to correct,” Bachelder said.

Walsh joined Pier 1 in January 2018 after three years as finance chief at Bon-Ton Stores. She is the second top executive to leave the company in the last five months, with CEO Alasdair James stepping down in December.

As part of its latest turnaround plan, Pier 1 slashed its spending plan by one-third and hired Credit Suisse Group AG to look at strategic alternatives, a sign of a possible sale.

“I am committed to instilling financial discipline across the organization as we work to drive a successful turnaround and create value for shareholders over the long term,” Rieger-Paganis said.

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