After almost 50 years at the helm of the fashion and home decor company he founded in 1967, Lauren is relinquishing his chief executive position to Stefan Larsson, the global president of Gap’s thriving Old Navy chain. He will leave the Old Navy on October 2 and will join the board in November. Larsson will be reporting to Lauren, who is staying on to be the force behind the strategy as well as vision of the company as its chief creative officer and executive chairman.
In an interview with Lauren in his luxurious wood-paneled office in Midtown Manhattan, the iconic 75-year-old designer emphasized that he’s not slowing down but sees Larsson, 41, as a partner as the company spearheads future sales growth.
To spur progress, Ralph Lauren expanded its luxurious enterprise and added three new manufacturers to its portfolio. Its Wholesale business, representing approximately 47% of the Company’s fiscal 2014 net revenues, consists of sales made principally to major department stores and specialty stores across the world.
Stefan Larsson is in a few ways a surprising choice to succeed Lauren as the head of his fashion empire, although his past business savvy may have helped him in the decision process. He said he’s surprised by Mr. Lauren’s focus on the growth of the business.
This transition is amid financial difficulties the company has faced in recent years.
Lauren said that consumers are even more interested in high-quality clothing as people have a lot of clothes. There’s a lot of mediocracy out there. What’s selling is specialness, quality and uniqueness. Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation’s stock is down -42.34% in the last 200 days.
Old Navy has just lost its guiding star, which should be a major concern to Gap’s (GPS – Get Report) investors. Stanton works closely with Larsson in the Old Navy. Gap noted in a release that Stanton is a “proven industry veteran” with more than 25 years retail experience, including nearly 14 years as vice-president and general manager of global apparel at Nike. In after-hours trade, shares of Ralph Lauren rose 3.9 percent to $108.10 and Gap fell 3.4 percent to $29.20.