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The Wiz Names 2 Execs, Moving Corporate HQ

Taking steps to bolster sales and earnings while fending off increased competition in its tough New York metro area market, The Wiz is reorganizing its senior management team and preparing to move its headquarters closer to parent company Cablevision.

The changes represent the first major actions taken by Jeffrey Yapp, who was brought in late last year as group president of Cablevision’s retail division.

In the first round of an expected series of personnel announcements, Laurie Clark was named senior VP, general manager/merchandising and marketing. Clark, who joins the company from Trans World Entertainment, a 970-store music and video chain, succeeds Wiz veteran Tasso Koken, who assumed a consultancy role in December. He will advise the company during its reorganization.

In her new post, Clark will be responsible for merchandising, marketing, advertising, visual merchandising, store design and construction, as well as The Wiz’s Internet and business-to-business divisions. A former senior VP/general merchandise manager for Staples, and a senior manager for the defunct CE chain Lechmere, she will report directly to Yapp.

Also joining the company from Trans World is Bill Shull, who assumes the newly created post of senior VP/sales and operations. In that role, he will oversee store operations, sales, customer service and training at the chain’s 43 locations, and will also report directly to Yapp. Shull served as senior VP/mall division for Trans World, and was senior VP/operations for Hollywood Entertainment before that.

Both executives will be relocating to Long Island, N.Y., in advance of The Wiz’s planned move from Edison, N.J., to Bethpage, N.Y., this June. According to spokeswoman Laura Conover, the closer proximity to Cablevision headquarters will help to “more fully integrate The Wiz operations and activities into Cablevision’s telecommunications and other businesses.”

Conover added that the move would also help “advance the strategy to provide Cablevision customers with a place where they can experience and purchase the company’s next generation of digital products and services,” including Optimum Online, Cablevision’s high-speed Internet service, and iO: Interactive Optimum, the company’s digital TV service.

She said the retailer does not intend to close any of its New Jersey stores.