Ralph Lauren steps down as CEO

The fashion leader says appointing his successor is ‘just the beginning’ and that ‘all the pieces are in place to position [Ralph Lauren] for continued growth.’

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On Tuesday, Lauren appointed Stefan Larsson, Old Navy’s global brand president, as his successor. Prior to Old Navy, Larsson spent 15 years at H&M, where he helped the team increase sales from $3 billion to $17 billion. The retail chain also expanded from 12 to 44 countries during that time.

The New York Times reported that the decision probably was made to boost the retailer’s falling profits:

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.

Lauren told The New York Times that he doesn’t feel like he’s “stepping down.” Instead, Lauren called his new business relationship with Larsson a “partnership.”

“When they start designing things I can’t understand, I’ll quit,” Lauren said.

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