Abercrombie CEO Retires Amid Sliding Sales

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. CEO and board member Michael Jeffries is retiring, effective immediately.

The company's third-quarter net sales were down 12 percent year-over-year, and comp store sales dropped 14 percent from 2013. 

Abercrombie & Fitch's current non-executive chairman of the board, Arthur Martinez, will become executive chairman. The board has established an office of the chairman, consisting of Martinez, as well as Jonathan Ramsden, COO, Christos Angelides, brand president of Abercrombie & Fitch and Fran Horowitz, brand president of Hollister.  The office of the chairman, led by Arthur Martinez, will oversee the company's strategic direction and be responsible for managing the company's day-to-day operations until a new CEO is appointed.

The board has commenced a search for Michael Jeffries's successor and has engaged a leading executive search firm to identify and evaluate both internal and external candidates.

Martinez has served as non-executive chairman of Abercrombie & Fitch since January 2014. He has substantial public company board leadership and senior executive experience in the retail industry. Ramsden has been with the company for 6 years, and has served as COO since January 2014. Angelides and Horowitz, both experienced and respected industry executives, joined Abercrombie & Fitch in October 2014 to lead the company's Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister brands, respectively. These recent organizational enhancements, including the creation of the COO and brand president roles in 2014, significantly strengthened the company's senior leadership team.

"It is impossible to overstate Mike Jeffries' extraordinary accomplishments in building Abercrombie & Fitch to the iconic status the brand now enjoys. From a standing start two decades ago, his creativity and imagination were the driving forces behind the company's growth and success. Going forward, we are confident in our talented senior leadership team and the steps we are taking to revitalize our brands and business," said Martinez. "We are also confident that our search will identify a new leader with the skills and expertise to enable Abercrombie & Fitch to capitalize fully on its growth opportunities and build shareholder value."

Jeffries said, "It has been an honor to lead this extraordinarily talented group of people.  I am extremely proud of your accomplishments.  I believe now is the right time for new leadership to take the company forward in the next phase of its development."
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