It is the end of an era for Abercrombie & Fitch. The teen apparel company announced that its long-time CEO Michael Jeffries is retiring, effective immediately. Jeffries has served as CEO since 1992. He will also retire from the retailer’s board of directors.
Jeffries said in a statement, “I believe now is the right time for new leadership to take the company forward in the next phase of its development.”
In January, the company removed Jeffries from his chairman duties, in response to investor pressure to reduce his control over the troubled brand, Reuters reported.
Abercrombie & Fitch has had to rework some of its brand signatures in order to meet consumers’ changing tastes, including adding trendier, logo-free apparel to its assortment. The retailer has also worked to increase its online presence in order to boost sales.
The company said it has placed a team, lead by newly appointed executive chairman Arthur Martinez, to manage the day-to-day operations until a new CEO is selected. The group also includes chief operation officer Jonathan Ramsden, A&F brand president Christos Angelides, and Hollister brand president Fran Horowitz.
Martinez said, “It is impossible to overstate Mike Jeffries’ extraordinary accomplishments in building Abercrombie & Fitch to the iconic status the brand now enjoys. From a standing start two decades ago, his creativity and imagination were the driving forces behind the company’s growth and success. Going forward, we are confident in our talented senior leadership team and the steps we are taking to revitalize our brands and business.”
He added, “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.”