Ralph Lauren CEO, Stefan Larsson, will leave the American fashion label on 1 May because of a dispute with the founder and chairman, Ralph Lauren himself. The Swede, who once worked for H&M, will temporarily be succeeded by CFO Jane Nielsen.
Dispute about creative course
"Stefan and I share a love and respect for the DNA of this great brand, and we both recognize the need to evolve", 77-year old Ralph Lauren said. He passed on the reins after a 48-year stint as CEO, but insiders say he still kept acting like an "intrusive mother-in-law".
"However, we have found that we have different views on how to evolve the creative and consumer-facing parts of the business. After many conversations with one another, and our Board of Directors, we have agreed to part ways. I am grateful for what Stefan has contributed during his time with us, setting us in the right direction with the Way Forward Plan", Ralph Lauren said.
Departure through the back door
Larsson created the “Way Forward”-plan, which was to close 50 stores, cut 1,000 jobs and eliminated 3 layers of management. Now, after 15 months, Ralph Lauren and Stefan Larsson will go their separate ways, from 1 May onward. The day-to-day operations will be handled by CFO Jane Nielsen until a new CEO can be found.
At the same time, Ralph Lauren released its - rather weak - third quarter results: net turnover dropped 12 % compared to last year's third quarter with huge drops both in the American market (- 12 %) and abroad (- 6 %). The stock market was "not amused" and the share dropped more than 10 %.