David Jaffe, the president and CEO of Ascena Retail Group Inc., will deliver New Canaan Library's sixth annual Conversations with Business Leaders Lecture on "Thriving in Challenging Times."

Jaffe, of New Canaan, will share his thoughts on today's complex, competitive and global business world at 5 p.m. Sunday, May 4, in a location to be determined.

Ascena Retail Group is a specialty retailer of apparel for women and tween girls. Ascena generates $5 billion in annual sales and operates nearly 4,000 stores across the U.S. and Canada, according to information provided by the library.

Jaffe began his retail career with dressbarn in 1992, and became president and CEO in 2002. He spearheaded the transition of dressbarn from an off-price discount store to a lifestyle specialty-store brand. His success with dressbarn led to three mergers: the first with maurices in 2005, followed by Justice in 2009, and the most recent one with Lane Bryant and Catherines in 2012. The parent company was renamed Ascena Retail Group in 2011.

His previous experience was as a general partner of Chemical Venture Partners, a private equity firm, and as a portfolio manager at Merrill Lynch. He received bachelor of Science and Arts degrees from the Wharton School/University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is a director of the National Retail Federation and the Baker Retailing Center at the Wharton School. Jaffe also serves is a trustee of the Connecticut Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.

He and his wife have four children.

Conversations with Business Leaders is an opportunity to learn from some of the world's business leaders who also are members residents of New Canaan. Past guest speakers have been Chase Carey, News Corporation president and chief operating officer; Jeffrey Immelt, General Electric chairman and CEO; George Bodenheimer, co-chairman of Disney Media Networks and president of ESPN Inc.; David Calhoun, chairman and CEO of the Nielsen Company; and Bob Seelert, chairman of Saachi and Saachi.

Past speakers serve on the selection committee along with Hazel Hobbs, chairman, and members Jim Citrin, Kirby Hoeft and George Moore.

Space is limited so registration is required and can be done by visiting newcanaanlibrary.org.