Lauren is stepping down as CEO of the fashion and home decor empire that he founded almost 50 years ago, and Larsson, who has been the global president of Gap’s low-price Old Navy chain for three years, will succeed him.
“Someone that has the spirit similar to how I built my company”, Lauren said. “One of the biggest reasons for me to join is the opportunity to work side by side with someone like Ralph“, Larsson said.
However, Lauren was quick to tell WWD that the unexpected move did not mean retirement was beckoning anytime soon. [He] has the sensitivity of design and of building a business and growing companies. But if Ralph Lauren isn’t ready to dilute its brand with an appeal to the masses, it will likely prove a tougher act.
The apparel company, known for Polo and other brands, has struggled recently as the rise of fast-fashion rivals, online retailers and economic weakness in Europe restrained its growth.
Lauren’s long run as both the business and creative leader of the company was exceptional in the fashion industry, The New York Times noted.
In the wake of Mr Larsson departure from Old Navy, the firm’s executive vice president of global product, Jill Stanton, will temporarily take his place until a permanent replacement is found.
We think this means one of our favourite moments of New York Fashion Week will still happen – when Ralph and his blue blazer takes his final bow at Ralph Lauren.
Shares of Ralph Lauren rose 4 percent in after-hours trading after closing Tuesday at $104.05 per share. During his time at H&M, Larsson was part of the team that grew sales from $3 billion to $17 billion and expanded the company’s operations from 12 to 44 countries. But Stefan has a great quality that made me say: “‘You can be my new C.E.O.,'” Ralph said of his new successor. He cited the appointment of Grita Loebsack, a former vice president at Unilever Plc, as CEO of Kering’s emerging brands, which include Stella McCartney and Gucci.