A handful of J. Crew executives gave the company a black eye on the front page of Thursday’s New York Post. The paper shows the executives and employees apparently celebrating the fact that they survived a round of layoffs at the company last week, where 175 jobs were eliminated. Alejandro Rhett, vice president of men’s merchandising, and others sent photos with hashtags that made reference to “The Hunger Games” films where teens are forced to fight to the death, the Post reported, noting that retail men’s merchandiser Andrew Ruth and other Crew staffers, Julie Stamos and Vanessa de Jesus, evidently participated in the hijinks.
Rhett reportedly delivered bad news to several of his staffers, then went to the Linen Hall Bar where he was photographed jumping for joy. Another photo was tagged #forthewin and #damnitfeelsgoodtobeagangster, according to the Post.
A spokeswoman for J. Crew said that “action has been taken, but we would never discuss that publicly.” Calls on Thursday to Rhett and Ruth went to voicemail.
“We do not condone this behavior in any way,” the J. Crew spokeswoman said. “Individuals’ actions do not represent the culture of our company – this is not who we are.
“The tough decisions we made last week were not something we took lightly,” she said, referring to the layoffs. “We do our best to make decisions with care and compassion for all of our associates. Our values at J.Crew are and have always been about respect, support and consideration for others.”
The layoffs and a major reorganization were triggered by difficulties at the J. Crew brand and recent disappointing financial results. Somsack Sikhounmuong, who was head of design at Madewell, was named head of women’s design for J. Crew, succeeding Tom Mora. Joyce Lee will succeed Sikhounmuong at Madewell.
The 175 jobs represent between 12 and 13 percent of the total workforce at the headquarters here.
Millard “Mickey” Drexler, chairman and ceo of J. Crew, said sweaters and knits were to blame for the poor performance. The outsized categories are believed to represent 25 percent to 30 percent of the company’s business.