True Religion Apparel Inc. late Tuesday said Jeff Lubell has decided to step down as chief executive. The board appointed Lynne Koplin as interim CEO.

Lubell, who founded the company in 2002 and also held the title of chairman and creative director, has agreed to maintain ties with the Vernon designer denim maker for two years as a creative consultant and chairman emeritus. His three-year contract expires June 30.

Koplin joined True Religion in January 2010 as chief operating officer, and was promoted to president in August 2011. She was previously women's division president for Tommy Bahama

The board in October formed a special committee of non-management directors and hired advisers to evaluate possible strategic alternatives, including a sale. The company announced in a regulatory filing on March 4 that it did not plan to renew Lubell’s employment agreement.

Lubell’s departure was announced after the markets closed. True Religion shares earlier closed down 21 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $27.16 on the Nasdaq, and rose 3 percent in after-hours trading.

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