Two days after separating the roles of chairman and chief executive officer, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. continued to reshape its executive ranks with the promotion of Jonathan Ramsden to chief operating officer, a new post at the teen retail firm.
This story first appeared in the January 31, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Ramsden, 49, joined A&F as executive vice president and chief financial officer in 2008. He will continue to serve as cfo until a successor is appointed.
The company said that Ramsden will “work closely” with ceo Michael Jeffries as well as two brand presidents who’ve yet to be appointed and will report directly to the ceo. One of the presidents will oversee A&F and abercrombie kids and the other the Hollister division. The company said it’s “making progress” in its quest for individuals to fill the roles.
On Tuesday, A&F appointed Arthur Martinez, the former ceo of Sears, Roebuck & Co., as non-executive chairman and added him, Terry Burman and Charles Perrin to its board. Jeffries, 69, relinquished the role of executive chairman but retained his post as ceo.
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In December, under pressure from activist investor Engaged Capital to develop a succession plan and diversify its board, A&F extended Jeffries’ contract until February 2016 and eliminated earlier sign-on and retention bonuses that could have been an obstacle to anyone seeking to buy the company. It also set the plan for divisional heads who could expand the pool of possible successors.
Jeffries commented, “Jonathan’s responsibilities have progressively expanded well beyond the cfo role, and this new position will enable Jonathan to work closely with me in managing the overall execution of our long-range strategic plans. Along with the new brand president positions, the creation of the new [chief operating officer] role will ensure we are organized for renewed growth and success going forward.”
Ramsden joined A&F after serving as cfo of TBWA Worldwide and has been an increasingly visible presence in A&F’s interaction with the financial community.