Abercrombie & Fitch Co. chief executive officer Mike Jeffries is going to be dealing with a boardroom full of new faces — and one contemplating how the company will ultimately transition to a new leader.
The retailer said Wednesday that it would nominate four new independent directors at its annual meeting as part of a settlement agreement with activist investor Engaged Capital, which has been pushing the company for change.
The directors include Hudson’s Bay Co. vice chair Bonnie Brooks, Gap and Ralph Lauren veteran Sarah Gallagher, former Bath & Body Works ceo Diane Neal and former Ernst & Young retail leader Stephanie Shern.
Once these changes are made, Abercrombie’s board will be made up of 12 directors — 11 of them independent and seven of whom will have been added this year.
Non-executive chairman Arthur Martinez said, “These actions will further enhance the board and management team’s focus, including strengthening the business, executing on the company’s strategic plans and succession planning, as Abercrombie & Fitch moves into the next phase of its growth.”
This ratchets up the pressure on Jeffries, who is considered founder of the modern-day Abercrombie and is on the board, but has seen the company’s fortunes wane as of late. In January, he gave up the title of chairman after 18 years, with Martinez taking that role.
Jeffries still has plenty of skin in the game. Even after selling 50,000 shares of Abercrombie stock for $1.8 million Monday, the ceo continues to hold 857,856 shares of the firm, according to a regulatory filing.
Glenn Welling, founder and chief investment officer of Engaged Capital, which holds 0.6 percent of Abercrombie’s stock, said his company worked “constructively” with Abercrombie and withdrew its effort to nominate new directors to the board.
“Since January, the company has added seven new directors, appointed a new chairman of the board and terminated its shareholder rights plan,” Welling said. “These changes position the reconstituted board to set a new direction for the company and execute upon an agenda focused on shareholder value creation.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast