Michaels Poaches Ulta CEO; Ulta Names Replacement

On Thursday, in a fast-paced game of C-level musical chairs, first crafts store chain Michaels Stores announced that it has poached Ulta Salon (NASDAQ: ULTA  ) Chief Executive Officer Chuck Rubin to join its board of directors and serve as its CEO. No sooner had it done so, than Ulta named an interim replacement.

Michaels said in a statement that it intends to "discontinue" the interim "Office of the Chief Executive Officer," which it set up in May 2012 while searching for a permanent CEO, because now it has found one. Charles "Chuck" Sonsteby, a member of the Office of the CEO, will continue to serve as Michaels's Chief Administrative Officer, and also as its Chief Financial Officer.

Meanwhile, Ulta is having to scramble to find a replacement. The beauty shop chain said in a statement that Rubin will be stepping down on February 21, and moving to Michaels, so while Rubin says he will "assist the Company during the transition period," it's hard to see how much time he will have for that. Ulta has delegated Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors Dennis K. Eck with the task of serving as Interim Chief Executive Officer until a permanent replacement for Rubin can be found.

In other news, Ulta pre-announced fourth quarter sales results today, saying that total Q4 sales increased 30% year over year, comparable store sales were up 8%, and the company is on track to hit earnings guidance of between $0.96 and $0.98 per share in profit.


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