Abercrombie & Fitch ousted CEO Mike Jeffries from his position as chairman of the company. Arthur Martinez, formerly the top executive of Sears, was named Jeffries’ replacement. Jeffries will remain CEO of the company.
Jeffries recently came under fire both for his stewardship of the company and for a series of public relations gaffes. Last year, he said that Abercrombie & Fitch only intended its clothing to be worn by “cool kids,” a statement that was interpreted as a condescending snub of many teen shoppers. The retailer has also weathered persistent criticism that it neglects to offer larger sizes for women, further reinforcing the perception of its elitist exclusion of many consumers.
Only one month ago, Engaged Capital LLC pushed Abercrombie & Fitch to force Jeffries to relinquish his spot on the board or to sell itself off. Tensions between the retailer and disgruntled investors reached such a fevered pitch that the company entertained the possibility of resorting to a “poison pill” in order to prevent a hostile takeover. It recently announced it will not avail itself of such a drastic measure.
For the third quarter, Abercrombie & Fitch’s sales fell 18 percent. In response to the news that Jeffries was removed from the board, its stock rose 2 percent.