Biz News: Costa Mesa’s Gear Coop names former Sport Chalet CEO as president

Biz News: Costa Mesa’s Gear Coop names former Sport Chalet CEO as president
Craig Levra, right, helps a customer in 2011 when he was chief executive of the now-shuttered Sport Chalet. Levra has been named president of Gear Coop, a sporting goods company based in Costa Mesa. (File Photo / Los Angeles Times)

Gear Coop, a sporting goods company based in Costa Mesa, has hired Craig Levra, a former chief executive of Sport Chalet, as president.

Levra oversaw Sport Chalet's growth from 18 stores to 55 and ultimately saw it reach more than $400 million in annual revenue, according to a news release.


After leaving the now-shuttered company, he worked as a consultant before joining Gear Coop.

H.B.-based ad agency puts creative officer on leave amid sex harassment suit

Hyundai's advertising agency, Huntington Beach-based Innocean USA, has put chief creative officer Eric Springer on leave amid sexual harassment allegations in a lawsuit filed by a former executive producer.


The lawsuit, filed Jan. 11 by Victoria Guenier, who worked for Innocean until early last year, accuses Springer of having a "bullying and harassing management style" with female employees, according to a report in Ad Age. Adweek first reported the lawsuit last week.

The suit alleges Innocean's human-resources department failed to act, and it names Springer and the agency as defendants.

Innocean said in a statement Monday that Springer "has been put on a leave of absence while an ongoing investigation is conducted into the allegations made in a lawsuit by a former freelance employee. We want to reiterate to all of our employees, clients, vendors and other partners that Innocean USA is committed to providing a safe and positive work environment, free from any form of harassment, bullying or discrimination, and one that encourages collaboration and creativity among all employees."

Springer declined to comment to Ad Age.

He was heavily involved in Hyundai's Super Bowl ad, and the automaker said in a statement Monday that it "was not made aware of these allegations until recently and expects all of its business partners to maintain work environments free of harassment and discrimination."

Hyundai added that Innocean USA "operates as an entirely separate company with its own HR and legal departments and is handling this personnel matter."

H.B.’s NuVision plans merger with Alaska credit union

NuVision Credit Union, based in Huntington Beach, is planning a merger with Denali Federal Credit Union of Alaska.

The combined $2.2-billion organization would serve 160,000 members in 30 branches.

The merger is still subject to various approvals, which could be completed by the end of the year.

Newport’s Ms. America joins marketing campaign

Ms. America 2017 Oksana Vovk of Newport Beach has joined couture fashion designer Eleonora Altamore for a beauty and fashion marketing campaign.

Vovk, who in September 2016 won the pageant for women 26 and older, said she was drawn to the style, features and shapes of Altamore's designs.

Altamore dedicated one of her purse creations to Vovk and her platform of supporting the fight against autism.

New CdM gallery to have opening ceremony next month

Rockstars of Art, a new fine-art gallery in Corona del Mar, will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5 p.m. April 5.

Cory Marie is the owner of the gallery at 3555 E. Coast Hwy.

Former New Jersey state senator hired by Newport’s Alliant

Alliant, an insurance provider based in Newport Beach, has hired former New Jersey state Sen. Jennifer Beck as vice president.

Beck, who served in the New Jersey Senate for 10 years, will be working in Alliant's Fair Haven, N.J., office. She is licensed in property and casualty insurance and employee benefits.

She also was founder and president of JAB Marketing, according to a news release.

Newport firm buys Arkansas apartments

Entrepreneurial Properties Corp. of Newport Beach has bought an apartment complex in Arkansas.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that Lexington Park Apartments in North Little Rock was sold for about $29 million. It contains 288 units on nearly 16 acres.

TrueLane Homes names chief operating officer

Newport Beach-based TrueLane Homes has named Taylor Carvajal as chief operating officer, according to a news release.

Carvajal, a Navy veteran, has worked in various senior finance positions at companies such as Blackstone Group and Ares Management. He has a bachelor's degree from USC and a master's from the University of Virginia.