Citi Trends Names Interim CEO

by Katie Lee

Savannah, Ga. — Citi Trends, Inc., a leading specialty value retailer of apparel, accessories and home trends primarily for African American and multicultural families in the U.S., has appointed Ken Seipel as its interim chief executive officer, effective June 2, 2024. He previously served as CEO of West Marine, the world’s largest retailer of boating supplies.

David Makuen has stepped down as CEO and a member of the board. To ensure a smooth and successful transition, Makuen will serve as senior advisor to the CEO and the leadership team in the coming weeks.

The board’s independent members are commencing a search for a new permanent CEO and plan to retain a nationally recognized executive search firm to support the process. The board will consider external candidates, as well as Seipel, in the CEO search.

“On behalf of the board and the company’s employees, I thank David for his dedication, hard work and strong leadership during his 4 years as CEO,” says Peter Sachse, executive chairman of the board. “David’s contributions include guiding the organization through the challenging COVID-19 pandemic and leading it to a record year in terms of financial performance in fiscal year 2021. The board’s decision to appoint Ken and initiate a search for a new permanent CEO is intended to position Citi Trends to return the company to past levels of profitability and beyond. Ken has had success in several turnaround environments. Ken previously served as the CEO of West Marine, and prior to that, led the transformation at Gabe’s, an off-price retailer operating with very similar customer income demographics as Citi Trends. As CEO, Ken balanced profitable growth with strong cost controls to drive record profitability. He has our full confidence.”

In line with corporate governance best practices, Seipel will step down from his board committee roles.

The company has provided the following summary of preliminary first quarter 2024 results:

• Total sales of $186.3 million

• Same-store sales increase of 3.1%

• EBITDA loss of $0.8 million

Seipel is a highly successful executive and director in the consumer and retail sectors, with prior experience as a CEO and in c-suite roles. Seipel joined Citi Trends’ board in 2019 and served as chairman of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and member of the Audit and Finance Committees. Seipel also formerly served as lead independent director at West Marine, the world’s largest retailer of boating supplies. As CEO of privately held West Marine from 2018 to 2021, Seipel completed a company turnaround, resulting in record profits, leading to a transaction that netted shareholders a six-time return on investment. As CEO of privately held off-price retailer, Gabe’s, from 2013 to 2017, he successfully led the business to record-level profits, resulting in a three-time investment exit transaction for the company’s majority private equity owner. His retail experience also includes executive roles in merchandise and operations at major Fortune 500 public companies, including Old Navy, Target and J.C. Penney.

Citi Trends is a leading specialty value retailer that operates 598 stores located in 33 states. For more information, visit

SOURCE: Citi Trends

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