Barney's chief executive to resign: paper

NEW YORK Sat May 10, 2008 3:18am EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The chief executive of luxury clothing retailer Barneys New York has said he plans to resign, The New York Times reported on Saturday.

Citing colleagues of Howard Socol, who presided over the company's steadying after it fell into bankruptcy in the mid-1990s, the newspaper reported that people with knowledge of the situation had said Socol had sharp differences with the company's new owners over strategy including plans for overseas expansion.

Barneys was bought from Jones Apparel by Istithmar, the investment arm of the Dubai government, for $942 million last summer.

Socol's colleagues spoke on condition of anonymity, and said he might announce his resignation as early as next week, the Times said.

Socol's "frustration level (with Istithmar's plans) was pretty high," the newspaper quoted one person familiar with the executive's thoughts as saying. He joined the company in 2001.

A spokeswoman for Barneys, vice president Dawn Brown, said the company had no comment, and representatives of Istithmar did not return phone calls or e-mail messages, the Times said.

Barneys also maintains stores in Beverly Hills, Chicago and five other markets as well as more than a dozen Co-Op stores around the country. (Reporting by Chris Michaud, editing by Jackie Frank)

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