by Stephen Garner

Big and tall retailer Destination XL Group has appointed Harvey S. Kanter as the company’s new president and chief executive officer and a member of its Board. He succeeds David Levin, who will remain at the company until April 1 as advisor and acting CEO.

Kanter brings a proven track record in leading executive teams, driving strategy, growing profitability and creating shareholder value for consumer-centric experiential brands.  He was most recently the president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Blue Nile, a leading online retailer of high-quality diamonds and fine jewelry, where he repositioned Blue Nile’s strategic direction and reignited its sales growth. Kanter will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board of Blue Nile. 

Before Blue Nile, Kanter was the president and chief executive officer of Moosejaw Mountaineering and Backcountry Travel, a leading multi-channel retailer of premium outdoor apparel and gear, where he drove a successful turnaround that led to the acquisition of Moosejaw by Walmart. Prior to Moosejaw, Kanter served in executive positions at Michael’s Stores and Eddie Bauer.

“We welcome Harvey to DXLG, and look forward to his leadership and strategic insights,” said John Kyees, chairman of the Board. “We also want to thank David Levin for his outstanding contributions and significant accomplishments during his 18 years as president and CEO of the Company. In 2002, David was instrumental in our entry into the men’s big and tall market through the acquisition of Casual Male and, since then, has driven the strategic re-direction of our company, including the design and launch of the DXL concept, the roll-out of a nationwide fleet of 231 fresh and contemporary DXL retail and outlet stores, the development of a new digital platform and the establishment of a wholesale business. Everyone at DXLG wishes him well in his retirement.”

“I’m thrilled to join DXLG and to start working with the Board, the senior management team and the rest of the organization to help the company win in today’s complex retail environment,” added Kanter. “DXLG has a tremendous opportunity as the leader in the big and tall men’s apparel sector with a large, growing and addressable market.  The company’s continued evolution across a highly effective bricks-and-mortar and digital platform enhances an already first-class retail experience for its loyal customer base. Leveraging its omni-channel and wholesale capabilities to reach a broader customer base will drive the next growth chapter.”