Ralph Lauren, a designer virtually synonymous with a certain preppy-American country club aesthetic, is stepping down from his post as CEO of the company that bears his name. Stefan Larsson, a former H&M executive and president of Old Navy, will replace Lauren in November.
The New York Times reports that Larsson is highly regarded in the industry, credited with “reviving” Old Navy, Gap’s discount retailer, which has been the best-performing member of the chains. Old Navy currently accounts for 40 percent of the corporation’s total revenues. Today, stocks at Gap are down and stocks at Ralph Lauren are up.
It’s assumed that Larsson is being brought on to iron out Ralph Lauren’s financial troubles. Via the Times:
“The change may be viewed as a move by Ralph Lauren to get its financial house in order. Earnings at the upscale apparel company, known for its Polo brand, have been pressured by a strong dollar and intense competition in the luxury space. Its latest quarterly earnings of $1.09 a share topped analyst estimates, but revenue dipped 5.3 percent on a year-over-year basis. The company’s share price has slumped by almost half this year.”
Though Larsson will be stepping in as CEO, Lauren won’t be going that far; he will remain with the company he founded, becoming the executive chairman and chief creative officer of the company.
In a statement issued by Lauren, he called Larsson “exceptionally talented,” adding “Stefan and I have a strong personal bond and share a vision for the future of Ralph Lauren. I appreciate Stefan’s unique sensibility, his honesty and his authenticity.”
Image via AP.