Robert Haas will retire as chairman of Levi Strauss & Co in February after an 18-year tenure in the position.

This story first appeared in the December 13, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“I leave the role of chairman at a time when [Levi’s] is strong and growing,” said Haas, 65, in a statement. “After 35 years with the company, including 15 years as its chief executive officer, I look forward to being able to devote more time to other aspects of my life, including my family and our philanthropic interests.”

Haas will remain a company director with the honorary title of chairman emeritus.

T. Gary Rogers has been elected to succeed Haas. Rogers has been a director since 1998 and will retire as chairman and chief executive officer of Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream at the end of the month. He is also deputy chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of San Francisco and is a director of the Shorenstein Company and Stanislaus Food Products.

“Bob leaves very large shoes to fill, but I am looking forward to working closely with [Levi’s] management and my board colleagues to build on this impressive legacy,” said Rogers in a statement.

Haas relinquished his role as ceo of Levi’s in 1999 to make way for Phil Marineau, who joined the company after a successful stint at Pepsi-Cola North America.

“He has the blend of brand-building and marketing experiences that we were seeking,” said Haas of Marineau at the time. “He has a lot of experience in terms of supply-chain execution, which is something we can use some help with.” Marineau retired from Levi’s in July 2006 and was replaced by John Anderson, a company veteran.