SHELBURNE, Vt. (AP) – Vermont Teddy Bear Co. is turning to a veteran marketing executive for its top job.

The Shelburne company, which makes gift bears and other novelties, announced Monday that John Gilbert – former marketing chief for The TJX Companies Inc. – has been named president and CEO.

Gilbert, a specialist in brand management, formerly worked for Dunkin’ Donuts, Yum! and PepsiCo, Inc.

Vermont Teddy Bear board chairman Bob Crowley says the 52-year-old Gilbert is a natural choice to lead the company’s next chapter.

Vermont Teddy Bear, which is a direct-to-consumer company, announced in January that it was laying off 35 people and closing a retail store to cope with the economic downturn.

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