BERLIN In an unexpected move, Hugo Boss AG and its longstanding chief executive Bruno Sälzer are parting ways.

According to a statement issued Thursday, Sälzer is leaving his post at the end of February due to “different views on the further business policy of the company.”  

Boss spokesman Philipp Wolff  emphasized Sälzer’s departure did not indicate a strategy change for the successful German fashion house. However, he would not comment further, and Sälzer was unavailable for comment.

Sälzer has held Hugo Boss’ top position since 2002. During his tenure, he successfully turned the brand’s women’s wear business around, significantly grew the Boss accessories business and further strengthened the brand’s company-owned retail business. His contract, which was extended in 2006, was due to expire in 2012. A successor has not been named, and until one is found, Sälzer’s duties will be assumed by other members of the firm’s management board, the company said.

Sälzer was reportedly at odds with Boss’ new owner, the private equity firm Permira, over its demands for higher dividends and a larger debt burden.

Permira gained control of the German fashion house last year after acquiring its parent company, the Valentino Fashion Group. In an interview last summer in the leading German news weekly Der Spiegel, Sälzer suggested Permira didn’t quite understand the fashion business and stressed the importance of company strategy remaining in the hands of the Boss board. Last fall, five Permira executives joined the 12-member Boss board.

For further coverage, see Friday’s WWD.


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