Andrew Rosen

In a major change atop a marquee contemporary firm, Andrew Rosen will step down as chief executive officer of Theory and will be succeeded by Dinesh Tandon, currently chief operating officer, effective April 1, WWD has learned. Rosen’s title will be founder and adviser.

Tandon will work closely with both Rosen and Kazumi Yanai, Theory’s chairman, to ensure a successful transition.

Tandon, 45, joined Theory in 2013 as ceo of the Greater China and Southeast Asia market, based in Hong Kong, where he oversaw aggressive business growth. He was named Theory’s chief operating officer in 2017 and relocated to the company’s global headquarters in New York.

Tandon’s successor as chief operating officer has yet to be named.

Tadashi Yanai, chairman, president and ceo of Fast Retailing, parent company of Theory, said, “I wish to thank Andrew for his significant contributions to Theory and the Fast Retailing Group over the past 10 years. I am pleased to see this succession in leadership as Andrew begins a new phase of his career, and I am confident that Dinesh will build on his solid experience at Theory and demonstrate his capability in powerfully evolving the company’s global business.”

Tadashi Yanai is the father of Kazumi Yanai, who has served as Theory chairman since 2012.

Theory, which generates in excess of $1 billion in global sales, according to market sources, was cofounded by Rosen in 1997. Fast Retailing acquired Theory in 2009.

In addition to helping to pioneer the contemporary space, Rosen, 62, has gained a reputation as a sort of Medici of fashion, lending support to fledgling companies and designers.

“This is an exciting time for Theory and for me personally. I am incredibly proud of having created this company, this brand and this culture. My new role will allow me to provide mentorship and advice to the team at Theory, and will also give me an opportunity to pursue other interests and passions within and beyond the industry. I am grateful to Mr. Yanai for the leadership and support he has shown to the company over the years,” Rosen said in a statement.

Elaborating on the change in an interview, the executive said: “This is something that Mr. Yanai and I have been talking about for a long time, even though it comes across as sudden now. Mr. Yanai and I have spent a lot of time talking about succession. I think it’s something that’s very natural for our company to be doing. I am still going to be continuing as the founder of the company and an adviser of the company. I’ll still have my office and will be headquartered here.”

In his new role, Rosen anticipates he’ll spend half his time at Theory. “That will vary depending on what’s needed, maybe in the beginning, a little more, but as time goes on, a little less. My commitment, passion and dedication to the company is still incredibly strong, as it always has been. My perspective is going to be a little bit different, that’s all,” he said.

Rosen called Tandon “a smart, competent guy, and I think it’s a natural transition for him to step up.”

“Two years ago when I moved him here, I always had the idea that one day he was going to succeed me,” he added.

Rosen emphasized that the changing of the guard had nothing to do with how the business was performing. “Our business is very good and continues to be very good,” he said.

In fact, Fast Retailing reported that Theory had significant profit gain for the first quarter ended Nov. 30, 2018.

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