December 10, 2014
Walter Jackson, Advisory Services Director, Quoted in Bloomberg Article, "Abercrombie's Next CEO to Revamp Outdated Brand, Again."
By Lindsey Rupp
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF), a former purveyor of safari gear that was reborn as a teen-clothing chain, is searching for its next incarnation.
The company, which announced the departure of longtime Chief Executive Officer Mike Jeffries yesterday, needs a successor who can appeal to today’s teens in an industry suffering from e-commerce competition and shrinking foot traffic. And it will have to emerge from the shadow of a man who has steered the brand for more than two decades.
Jeffries, 70, stepped down as CEO after the strategies that led to Abercrombie’s success in the 1990s failed to resonate with current shoppers. The chain’s shirtless models, booming music and conspicuous logos have lost their appeal, replaced by a desire for fast fashion and a lower-key selling style.
Jeffries’s departure comes exactly a year after he signed his last one-year contract with the company that extended his employment agreement to Feb. 1, 2015.
Still, the fact that Jeffries retired without a replacement lined up suggests that the company isn’t sure of its next move. That’s troubling, said Walter Jackson, director of advisory services at Marcum LLP, a New York-based accounting and consulting firm.
“Why was there no plan? It seems irresponsible,” he said. “I don’t know who they would get to take this job. It seems like a huge cultural, strategic and organizational challenge.”