Ralph Lauren Steps Down As CEO Of Fashion Powerhouse

30 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ralph Lauren hires Old Navy exec to replace him as CEO.

The fashion industry saw one of its iconic figures step aside Tuesday when Ralph Lauren said he is giving up the title of CEO of the company bearing his name.The New York-based company announced on Tuesday that Stefan Larsson, who has been the global president of Gap’s low-price Old Navy chain for three years, will succeed him.

The multi-billion dollar American fashion designer Ralph Lauren of the Ralph Lauren Corporation announced that he will be stepping down as CEO of his brand passing the role on to Stefan Larsson starting November of this year. The change will be effective in November, and Larsson will report to Lauren who will continue to drive the company’s vision and strategy as executive chairman and chief creative officer. Prior to his tenure at Old Navy, Larsson was part of an executive team at Swedish cheap chic fashion chain H&M for 15 years that increased annual revenue from $3 billion (Dh11 billion) to $17 billion. Odeon Capital analyst Rick Snyder said the company had grown to a size where it needed more “systems and controls.” The change in CEO “is just a natural progression,” Snyder said.

The news comes as Ralph Lauren, which generated sales of $7.5 billion in the latest fiscal year March 28, has been expanding its luxury business while beefing up its online presence. Milton Pedraza, a fashion industry analyst at the Luxury Institute, said Larsson’s appointment follows a trend of luxury brands hiring leaders from mass-market companies in recent months. Talking about his relationship with the future CEO he said, “Stefan and I have a strong personal bond and share a vision for the future of Ralph Lauren. Lauren’s fashion empire includes some 25 brands including Polo, Club Monaco and Denim & Supply, and the company makes clothing, accessories, furniture, home decor items and footwear under its labels. Larsson, a Swede who before joining Gap was global head of sales at Hennes & Mauritz, brings experience of managing a fast fashion business with a supply chains considered to be among the most efficient within the apparel industry. “If he comes from a place like H&M, he understands global supply chains and that’s one of the things that Ralph Lauren is trying to implement right now,” Snyder said. “It’s going to be very positive for them.” Despite the aura of Anglo-Saxon elitism around his company, Lauren was born Ralph Lifshitz in the Bronx in 1939.

Larsson’s response to this was: “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work directly and collaboratively with a fashion giant like Ralph Lauren. Lauren’s designs drew inspiration from elite and exotic realms including East Coast prepsters, the Wild West, colonists on African safari and czarist Russia. His bright colors and bold clothing became staples for some New York gangs, and rappers such as Kanye West and Lil Wayne have mentioned Lauren and his designs in their rhymes.

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