Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Abercrombie & Fitch Co, Michael Jeffries is stepping down after more than two decades of controlling the wheel, transforming the teen apparel trader into a fashion icon from a plain sports brand.
Jeffries, who is now 70 years of age, has faced criticism in the recent years as the company he managed keeps on failing and not keeping pace with the changing taste of teenage shoppers, who are also switching towards “fast fashion” chains like Zara and Forever 21.
Arthur Martinez will lead a team in managing the daily operations up until a new chairman is appointed, the company said on Tuesday.
He became the CEO in 1992, positioned the retailer as one of the “cool” teen icons, however, and stirred controversy after stating that the brand is not designed for “fat” customers.
Besides the damage to the brand’s image, same-store sales also kept on falling, so as the CEO was removed from office in January. Thus, the new team includes Jonathan Ramsden as Chief Operating Officer, Christos Angelides as A&F brand President, and Fran Horowitz as Hollister brand President.
The company said it has hired an executive search entity in identifying both external and internal candidates to take over for the position.
The company shares jumped to 6.7% at 28.11 dollars during the noon morning trading on the NYSE. Up until Monday’s close, Abercrombie stock has dropped nearly 20% this year.