Stefan Larsson has gotten his start as chief executive officer of PVH Corp., parent to Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein.
The company said Monday the torch had officially passed from Manny Chirico, who further built the company into a global force and will remain chairman after his 15-year run as CEO.
Larsson said he wanted to continue the “people-first culture and purposeful commitment to corporate responsibility” that Chirico championed.
“My focus is on building upon the core strengths that brought us here and connecting them closer to where the consumer is going than any time before, which will form the foundation to successfully deliver our next chapter of growth,” the newly minted CEO said.
Chirico gave his chosen successor one more vote of support, nothing that, “Given Stefan’s global experience, consumer focus and high-performance track record, I have full confidence in his leadership, team-focused mind-set and strategic vision for sustainable growth to further realize the full power of PVH.”
The CEO shift on Monday was in many ways the end of Larsson’s transition, not the beginning. He has been steadily assuming control of PVH since joining in June 2019 as president, with the transition period giving him time to learn the company from the inside out as part of a deliberate transfer of power.
This is a second shot at the big time for Larsson, who served for 18 months as CEO of Ralph Lauren Corp., where he laid out business plans that were widely lauded, but clashed with the company’s famous founder.
Certainly, Larsson has already been tested, taking the operational wheel at PVH in the midst of the pandemic, which prompted a hard look at the group, including furloughs and layoffs that eliminated 450 positions, or 12 percent of the corporate workforce in North America.
Now he’s steering the company into still-troubled waters and will be laying out more of his plan and vision, for the PVH workforce, industry partners, investors and analysts.
Matthew Boss, a stock analyst at J.P. Morgan Chase, said in a recent note that he is looking ahead to the company’s midyear investor day, where the market focus will be “centered on Larsson’s long-term strategic plans and financial targets.”
When the timing of Larsson’s ascent was laid out in September, he signaled where his focus would be at the start in an interview with WWD.
“I’ve been able to really dig deep into what those strengths are and I see a clear path on how to connect those to the consumer and drive sustainable, profitable growth for many years to come,” Larsson said. “It comes back to focusing on the iconic brands with Calvin and Tommy.
“The e-commerce opportunity is real and it’s big and while we pivoted to follow the consumer through the pandemic, we have just started to scratch the surface for the e-commerce potential of the company,” he said. “We are also building and evolving to build a data- and demand-driven platform, so the capabilities of PVH, the supply chain…the technological backbone to enable the growth of the brands and the regions.
“Winning post-COVID-19, I’m convinced you will have to, as a company, operate leaner, [be] more data-driven and [have] more speed,” he said.
He can now put his plan into action, although he’ll also have to keep Wall Street at bay.
Shares of PVH fell 4.1 percent to $81.72 in midday trading Monday, giving the company a market capitalization of $5.8 billion.
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