Controversial CEO leaves Abercrombie & Fitch
Mike Jeffries, who is widely credited with the rise of Abercrombie & Fitch in the 1990’s and blamed for its fall in recent years, has stepped down as CEO of the company.
Mr. Jeffries has taken heat in recent years for the chain’s poor performance, which includes nearly three straight years of same-store sales declines. The chain, according to critics, failed to keep up with the ever-changing fashion tastes of its core consumer market and fell behind more nimble fast-fashion chains.
Mr. Jeffries also courted controversy for his emphasis on marketing and hiring that fit A&F’s "beautiful people" image. "Good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that," he told Salon in 2006.
The sudden departure of Mr. Jeffries was not a total shock to A&F watchers. The board made the decision in January to take the chairman title from him. It also created a new position of chief operating officer and added executives to run the A&F and Hollister businesses.
Wall Street reacted positively to the news with shares rising eight percent.
A team of people led by Arthur Martinez, A&F’s executive chairman, will manage the day-to-day business of the company until a new CEO is named to lead. Others on the team include Jonathan Ramsden, chief operating officer for the company, Christos Angelides, brand president of A&F, and Fran Horowitz, brand president of Hollister.
"Going forward, we are confident in our talented senior leadership team and the steps we are taking to revitalize our brands and business," said Mr. Martinez. "We are also confident that our search will identify a new leader with the skills and expertise to enable Abercrombie & Fitch to capitalize fully on its growth opportunities and build shareholder value."
- Abercrombie & Fitch Announces Leadership Changes – Abercrombie & Fitch Co.
- Abercrombie CEO Leaves Chain After Overseeing Rise and Fall – Bloomberg News
- Abercrombie CEO Jeffries steps down as company seeks new look – Reuters
- A&F splits CEO and chairman roles – RetailWire
- A&F apologies to plus-size consumers – RetailWire
- Should A&F court girls its CEO finds unattractive? – RetailWire
Do you agree that it was time for Mike Jeffries to leave Abercrombie & Fitch? What will the chain need to do to reverse its current fortune?