Patricia R. Miller, co-founder of Vera Bradley, announced Thursday that she will retire from the business that she and Barbara Bradley Baekgaard started more than 30 years ago.
Her retirement is effective Oct. 31, but she will continue to serve as a member of the boards of Vera Bradley and the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer.
“Vera Bradley is a thriving enterprise today because of a friendship that spans several decades,” said Mike Ray, Vera Bradley CEO, in a statement announcing Miller’s retirement. “Pat’s business skills paired with Barb’s creative talents were the perfect combination to successfully launch this company in 1982. The solid foundation and positive culture that Pat helped build will certainly live on at Vera Bradley. We wish her the best as she starts another chapter and look forward to her ongoing contribution as a member of our board.”
“Barbara and I decided to enter the world of women’s bags and accessories 30 years ago,” Miller said in the same announcement. “With an idea and a vision, Vera Bradley became a reality. Today, thanks to loyal customers, dedicated employees, sound management and a strong board of directors, that small beginning has grown into a publicly traded, internationally recognized brand. It’s the American dream, and we’re fortunate to be living it."
In 2005, Miller served as Indiana’s first Secretary of Commerce and as president of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. In addition to her service on the Vera Bradley boards, she is a board member of the Indiana University Foundation and Indiana University Varsity Club, and is a founding member of the Indiana University Women’s Philanthropy Council. Baekgaard will continue her role as Vera Bradley’s chief creative officer.
Vera Bradley employs 2,200 and fiscal 2012 sales were $461 million.