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True Religion's founder steps down from CEO post

VERNON, Calif. (AP) -- True Religion Apparel CEO Jeff Lubell is stepping down from his post, a little over two weeks after the clothing company announced that it would not be renewing its founder's contract.

The company, based in Vernon, Calif., on Tuesday named President Lynne Koplin as interim CEO. She has worked as True Religion since January 2010.

Earlier this month True Religion Apparel Inc. said in a regulatory filing that its board decided not to extend Lubell's employment contract for another three years because of an ongoing strategic review. The filing also said that the company wanted to explore an "alternative arrangement" with Lubell.

True Religion, which is best known for its high-priced jeans, has posted slower growth in recent years. It announced in October that it was reviewing strategic alternatives and said Wednesday that the process is ongoing.

In addition, the company said that Lubell, who also served as its chairman and creative director, will become chairman emeritus and a creative consultant for two years. Lubell had served as chairman and CEO since 2003.

True Religion had 122 U.S. stores and 30 stores overseas as of Dec. 31.

True Religion shares gained 83 cents, or 3.1 percent, to hit $27.99 in morning trading Wednesday.