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Feb 18, 2016

Full Interview: Paula Schneider, American Apparel fixer

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The new CEO first focused on organization. Now she's 'all about the product.'

The last two years at Los Angeles–based clothing manufacturer American Apparel have been anything but boring.

The company, known for T-shirts and racy ads, had been in dire financial straits for years, but in June 2014, the board dismissed founder and CEO Dov Charney. In his termination letter, the board wrote, “you have violated the fiduciary obligations owed to the Company in several material ways” and “you repeatedly engaged in conduct that violated the Company’s sexual harassment and anti-discrimination policy.”

Paula Schneider was brought in to help fix the company. This wouldn’t be her first turnaround, but even Schneider says she wasn’t expecting the level of disorganization and lack of basic retail procedures in place at the company. She led American Apparel through bankruptcy, which it emerged from this month. Now she’s ready to implement a full-scale revival.

Click the audio player above to listen to the full interview with Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal, or subscribe to our Corner Office podcast on iTunes.

Correction: A previous version of this story partially misstated the reason why Charney was dismissed. The text has been corrected.

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