Chinni is new Fortunoff chairman, CEO

Industry veteran Charlie Chinni takes the reigns at Fortunoff as the company’s new chairman and chief executive officer. He replaces Arnie Orlick who left the company last week as retailer was acquired out of bankruptcy by NRDC Equity Partners of Purchase, N.Y., owner of Lord & Taylor.

In early 2007, Chinni stepped down from his post at JCPenney as executive vp, home and leisure, women’s accessories and family footwear after steering his departments through the company’s turnaround process.

Former CEO NRDC CEO Richard Baker late last week said he expects Fortunoff to expand from four full-line stores to 50 nationwide, with Fortunoff’s 16 regional outdoor furniture stores ballooning out to more than 300 units.

NRDC also plans to create Fortunoff home and jewelry shops in the firm’s 47 Lord & Taylor stores. NRDC said it expects the $439 million Fortunoff nameplate to double in size over the coming five years.

NRDC Equity Partners $110 million deal for Fortunoff included a $30 million contribution to cover the company’s customer obligations. The deal to purchase Fortunoff closed on March 7.

NRDC is a joint venture between Robert Baker and Richard Baker, principals of National Realty & Development Corp., and William Mack and Lee Neibert, Partners of Apollo Real Estate Advisors. NRDC focuses on acquisitions in the retail, leisure, lodging, and commercial real estate sectors.