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Michael Appel


Michael Appel is a Managing Director at Getzler Henrich & Associates, based in New York City. Michael leads the Retail Practice for the firm.

Michael has expertise in women’s apparel, accessories, menswear, childrenswear, and all categories of home furnishings across department stores, specialty stores, luxury, off-price, and direct response channels of distribution. Michael graduated from Brandeis University (Phi Beta Kappa) and has an MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School. Over the years, he has served on multiple corporate and non-profit boards, including serving as the Chairman of the Compensation Committee for Charming Shoppes, and as Chairman at Loehmann’s.

Select experiences include:

  • Served as CEO and Chairman of rue21, the 700-unit omnichannel fast-fashion retailer, where he led the company’s successful turnaround from its emergence from Chapter 11 between 2017 and 2020.
  • Served as the Interim CEO for Laura Ashley, Wilkes Bashford, and Baccarat. Additionally, he has provided turnaround services for Kenneth Cole, Avery Boardman, Versa Partners, and DW Partners
  • Served as Financial Advisor to the Creditor’s Committee of Kasper ASL, a leading manufacturer of women’s apparel under the Kasper and Anne Klein brands. For his work on Kasper, the Turnaround Management Association awarded Michael its Large Company Turnaround of the Year Award
  • Provided strategic advisory, due diligence, and expert witness consulting services to retailers, financial institutions, law firms, and consumer product companies.
  • Was retained at HCI Direct as CRO to oversee the company’s prepackaged Chapter 11 proceedings and the successful implementation of its restructuring plan. With the departure of HCI Direct’s CEO, he was named Interim CEO, successfully managing the business, achieving planned goals, introducing a new product line, and recruiting a new CEO.

Currently, Michael serves on the Board of Ashley Stewart, Inc., the Advisory Board of FIT’s Global Fashion Management MBA program and is a member of The Fashion Group and the Turnaround Management Association, where he served on their National Board, and was Chairman of the TMA Awards Committee.