HR & Management

Fashion mogul Ralph Lauren stands down as CEO

4 min read

30 September 2015

Former deputy editor

Ralph Lauren has stood down from his role of CEO at his fashion label to make way for new blood, although he will remain involved as executive chairman and chief creative officer.

The fashion industry has experienced major changes at the top in September, as Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet left the company she created after 15 years, while ASOS founder Nick Robertson also departed his online fashion firm after the same period of time.

Ralph Lauren has now sort of followed suit by relinquishing the title of CEO to make way for Stefan Larsson, who is billed as “one of the most successful executives in the fashion industry”.

Larsson will seize power from November and join the board in the process, although he will still report in to Lauren who will remain at the helm of the company’s vision as executive chairman and chief creative officer. His arrival follows a revenue decline of five per cent in the firm’s fiscal Q1.

“My job is to think always about the future of our company and how to move it forward. Stefan Larsson is exceptionally talented, and he will bring our company a fresh and exciting global perspective,” said Lauren.

“Stefan and I have a strong personal bond and share a vision for the future of Ralph Lauren. I appreciate Stefan’s unique sensibility, his honesty and his authenticity. We have had tremendous success expanding the Ralph Lauren brands around the world and creating a great management team.”

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Prior to his appointment at the designer label, Larsson was the global president at Gap-owned fashion retailer Old Navy. During his time there, the firm experience three consecutive years of profitable growth and added $1bn in sales.

The exec also worked at H&M for 15 years and saw the high street retailer expand from 12 to 44 countries, while he also support sales growth from $3bn to $17bn. With growth in mind, the Ralph Lauren brand wants to strengthen its brand and build on sales of $7.5bn achieved in 2014 – a strategy that Larsson will help to execute.

The firm has been keen to introduce new brands over the past two years, including Polo for Women, and it also introduced an omnichannel programme to capture consumers via mobile and the web.

Lauren, added: “Now, all the pieces are in place to position our business for continued growth. We have been a leader in our industry for nearly 50 years, and this is just the beginning.”

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work directly and collaboratively with a fashion giant like Ralph Lauren,” Larsson said of his appointment.

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“His creativity and singular vision have made Ralph Lauren one of the world’s most influential global brands, and I share his dreams for the future. I believe the company has tremendous potential to continue expanding in the global marketplace as it broadens its appeal to all consumers.”

Elsewhere, president and COO Jackwyn Nemerov will retire in November and move into an advisory role, a decision that saw Lauren praise her “leadership, dedication and tireless commitment to the business and our important customers”.