Chico’s names former J.C. Penney exec to head Soma brand

Fort Meyers, Fla. Chico's FAS said Wednesday it has named a former J.C. Penney Co. executive to lead its Soma Intimates brand of sleepwear and underwear.

Laurie Van Brunt will begin duties as brand president of Soma on May 17.

The previous president, Charles Nesbit, left the company in August 2009. Verna Gibson, a Chico's FAS board member, has been interim brand president.

Van Brunt spent the last five years in marketing and brand management for J.C. Penney, serving most recently as a VP intimate apparel.

Chico's FAS operates 1,104 specialty stores in 48 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.