DALLAS (AP) _ Bath furnishings maker Pillowtex Corp. said Friday that chairman and chief executive Charles M. Hansen Jr. has resigned.

The Dallas-based company said Ralph La Rovere, a company director since 1997, will replace Hansen as chairman and the board searches for a new chief executive.

La Rovere, 65, spent 35 years at J.C. Penney & Co., leaving in 1995 as vice president and director of merchandising.

Pillowtex makes bedroom and bathroom furnishings under the Royal Velvet, Fieldcrest and Cannon brand names. It is the third-largest home textiles maker after Springs Industries and WestPoint Stevens. It has about 13,000 employees in the United States and Canada.

Hansen owns about 17 percent of the company's stock. Pillowtex gave no explanation for his resignation.

On Thursday, Pillowtex reported a third-quarter net loss of $18.3 million, or $1.29 per share, on sales of $357.4 million. A year ago, the company posted its first annual loss. In the year-ago quarter, it lost $20.6 million, or $1.45 per share.

The company also said that chief financial officer Anthony T. Williams, 54, who joined in May, will take on the additional title of chief operating officer.

Pillowtex said La Rovere, Williams, executive vice president Scott Shimizu and two outside directors, M. Joseph McHugh and Mark A. Petricoff, formed a committee to guide the company's business.

``Our immediate priorities will be to develop a more competitive cost structure, enhance our manufacturing flexibility and improve our economic profitability,'' Williams said in a statement issued by the company.

In trading Friday, Pillowtex shares rose 31 cents to $1.88 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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On the Net: http://www.pillowtex.com