The designer Ralph Lauren, one of the biggest names in American fashion, will leave the general direction of the group that bears his name after almost half a century at the helm, the end of the same time it will keep functions.
He will be replaced in November by Stefan Larsson, a Swedish man aged 41 who was previously president of the Old Navy clothing chain Gap subsidiary of the group on the low price segment, the company said Tuesday in a statement.
Aged 75 years, Ralph Lauren does not leave much for his company: he will remain President and responsible for creating.
“My role is to think constantly about the future of this company and how to move it forward,” said the native of New York, said in the statement.
He praised the qualities of Stefan Larsson, his “sensibility”, his “honesty” and “authenticity”, presenting him as someone “exceptionally talented”.
Mr Larsson has boosted sales of Old Navy, whose turnover grew continuously since his arrival three years ago. Before that, he spent 15 years in the Swedish group of ready-to-wear H & M.
His departure is a blow for the Gap group, whose eponymous brand and the brand Banana Republic are struggling, unlike Old Navy.
“Today, all the elements are in place to allow our business to experience sustainable growth,” added Ralph Lauren.
The creator with salt and pepper hair and casual look to Stefan Larsson leaves the keys of a house that he built from scratch.
In 2014, Ralph Lauren has achieved a turnover of 7.6 billion, and net income of $ 702 million.
In five years, sales of the group increased by half (+ 53%), as net income (+ 46%).
Over ten brands
The company is now available in more than ten different brands and posted in late 2014, more than a thousand points of sale worldwide, including 466 company-owned stores.
But the latest financial results have disappointed and the stock has lost 43% of its value during the last twelve months.
Ralph Lauren gained 3.99% to 108.04 dollars around 20:00 in electronic trading after closing on Wall Street, while Gap fell by 3.04% to 29.30 dollars.
Raised in an Orthodox Jewish family in the New York district of the Bronx, Ralph Lifshitz, whose real name, is a self-taught fashion designer who never attended school and learned everything on the field.
In 1967, commercial ties to a manufacturer, he started one and creates its own line under the Polo brand. It breaks with the sobriety of the time and invents broad ties with printed patterns, often polo players.
He won several major New York stores and eventually open their own shops.
His aspiration is primarily that of being himself elegant, having spent his childhood dreaming of clothes he could afford.
Over the years, he contributes to the American style, a mixture of elegance and relaxation. He invented imagery, that of young men of aristocratic fantasy, followers of the outdoor life, the classic style is tinged with fantasy and color.
It gives acclaim to preppy style, derived directly from the neo-classicism of the students of the most prestigious American universities.
“I had no vision in the sense: this is where I want to go. The vision that I had, that was what I liked to do, “he confided in an interview with the famous presenter Oprah Winfrey.
“I never said to me I’ll be the greatest. I just wanted to do my thing, “he said.