July 18, 2005--Brian Le Gette has stepped down as CEO of 180s LLC, the performance apparel company he founded in 1994 with former classmate Ron L. Wilson, who left in 2004. New CEO Susan Shafton will now lead the two-time Inc. 500 (2003, 2004) Baltimore-based company, most famous for its wrap-around ear warmers.
180s has experienced a series of changes in the past few years, prompting some to speculate that Shafton's appointment symbolizes a new stage of development for the company. These changes include a large investment by Patriarch Partners LLC, making it 180s' majority owner, and a shift in marketing strategy toward more niche high fashion and athletic apparel distributors.
Shafton, a 20-year industry veteran, formerly worked as Global Retail Segment Leader for Deloitte Consulting and has worked with companies such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Office Depot and Walt Disney Company. "She brings strong business leadership credentials that will help 180s maximize the opportunities that its people, products and brands have in front of them," said Natalie van Buskirk, a public relations specialist for 180s.
180s maintains that LeGette's resignation was voluntary. "Brian recognized that the development of the company's leadership team had reached a stage that it could withstand his transition out of the company," said van Buskirk. "He strongly supports Susan Shafton and is confident in her and the management team at 180s."