NEW YORK — Doug Williams has resigned as group president of Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., effective on Friday, after the disclosure that Roger Farah, president and chief operating officer of the company, plans to stay until 2010.

Williams, 39, is a 16-year veteran of the company, having risen from an analyst in men’s wear to become group president in 1999. His ambition to eventually run a company, however, appeared to be blocked after a recent Polo proxy filing revealed that Farah had renewed his employment contract to remain at the company for another six years, influencing Williams’ decision not to renew his own contract, a friend said.

In a statement, Farah said, “During his tenure, the company experienced significant global growth in wholesale and licensing.”

Williams’ direct reports included Joy Herfel, president of Polo Ralph Lauren men’s wear; Kim Roy, president of Lauren women’s wear; Cheryl Sterling, president of Ralph Lauren women’s wear collection brands; Andreas Kurz, president of international licensing, and Don Baum, senior vice president of sourcing and manufacturing — all of whom will now report to Farah.

“There are no immediate plans to replace this position,” a Polo spokeswoman said. “But we have a fluid organization that adjusts for talent.”

Williams could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

This story first appeared in the July 21, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.