By  on January 27, 2011

George Zimmer, chairman, chief executive officer, and ubiquitous spokesman for The Men’s Wearhouse Inc., is getting ready to turn over the reins of the company he founded in 1973.

On Thursday, the Houston-based retailer said its board had approved a succession plan that would elevate Douglas Ewert, president and chief operating officer, to ceo in mid-2011. Ewert, 47, has been with the company since 1995 and was named to his current post in 2008.

Under the terms of the plan, Zimmer, 62, will continue as executive chairman of the board and will assist Ewert in matters related to the strategic direction of the company. He will also remain involved in marketing activities.

Once Ewert is elevated to president and ceo, the chief operating officer post will not be filled.

Bill Sechrest, lead director of Men’s Wearhouse, said, “Our board has recognized that succession planning is an important part of any company’s corporate governance and this plan reflects a considered process over several years to accomplish the natural evolution of the company’s outstanding management team.”

The board said Ewert has played a “key role in enhancing the performance of more than 1,200 stores in the United States and Canada.” All three of the company’s divisions — Men’s Wearhouse, Moore’s and K&G — as well as the merchandising and supply chain functions, report to Ewert.

The elevation of Ewert is not surprising. A former Macy’s executive, Ewert has held positions of increasing responsibility since joining Men’s Wearhouse 16 years ago. He became vice president of merchandising in 1999, executive vice president and general merchandise manager of all divisions in 2001, chief operating officer in 2005 and president in 2008.

“I am excited and honored to be chosen by the board to lead the next chapter in this company’s amazing story,” Ewert said in an e-mail to WWD Thursday. “I am looking forward to continue working closely with George and our outstanding leadership team for many more years to come.”

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