Ralph Lauren hires a CEO as the founder steps down
September 30, 2015 09:02 AM
Luxury brand Ralph Lauren Corp. plucked an executive from discount fashion retailer Old Navy to be its next CEO.
Ralph Lauren, No. 59 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide, announced that retail veteran Stefan Larsson will take over as CEO in November. Founder and namesake Ralph Lauren, who is also the company’s CEO today, will continue to “drive the company’s vision and strategy” as executive chairman and chief creative officer, according to the company.
Larsson had been global president of Gap Inc.’s (No. 18) Old Navy brand since 2012. Prior to joining Old Navy, Larsson spent 15 years with Swedish apparel and accessories retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB, No. 85 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Europe 500, better known as H&M.
“My job is to think always about the future of our company and how to move it forward,” founder Ralph Lauren said. “Stefan Larsson is exceptionally talented, and he will bring our company a fresh and exciting global perspective.”
Larsson joins Ralph Lauren’s brand at a time when online sales growth has slowed and overall sales are declining. Online sales grew 2% year over year during the first quarter of fiscal 2016 while net revenue declined 5.3% year over year, falling from $1.708 billion to $1.618 billion.
President of global brands Christopher Peterson told analysts on the company’s Q1 2016 earnings call that Ralph Lauren’s e-commerce re-platforming is on schedule. He did not elaborate on the project except to say it’s a “multiyear initiative to significantly improve the company's omnichannel capabilities and the customer's shopping experience.”
“I expect that the e-commerce re-platforming investment is likely to ramp up next year versus this year as we get closer to implementation,” he said, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha. “We’re expecting to be spending more money on the e-commerce re-platforming project next year.”
Ralph Lauren also announced that company veteran and current president Jacki Nemerov will be retiring in November, remaining in an advisory role. Nemerov joined Ralph Lauren in September 2004 as an executive vice president.