The executive chairman of Abercrombie & Fitch, formerly a Director at Next, has left the American retailer with ‘immediate effect’.
Christos Angelides was at Next for 28 years before he joined Abercrombie & Fitch last year as brand president. He was in the running to replace Mike Jeffries, the infamous CEO who ran the A&F brand from 1992 – 2014, promoted on Jeffries’ exit to oversee the company’s direction until a replacement was found.
The preppy fashion chain has not given a reason as to Angelides’ termination, although a filing cites it was “without cause”. Fran Horowitz will assume the newly created position of Chief Merchandising Officer and become responsible for all of the brand’s customer-focused activities – an area that is in serious need of TLC.
Angelides kept a relatively low-profile at Next, although most regarded him as the driving force behind the high street giant’s success. In his last two years with the FTSE 100 company, he earned more than Next’s boss Simon Wolfson.
Angelides will continue to receive base salary for 18 months from Abercrombie & Fitch.
For a long time Abercrombie has been going through something of an identity crisis. Towards the end of the Mike Jeffries era, the company suffered 11 consecutive quarters of comparable sales decline, which wasn’t helped by statements from Jeffries such as “We hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market cool good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.”
Now, in an attempt to move away from the look focus that Jeffries instilled employees with and the exclusive ambience that he implemented in stores, the teen clothing retailer is working hard to reposition itself.
“Abercrombie & Fitch Co. continues to make encouraging progress executing on its strategy to provide compelling, customer-focused shopping experiences based on clearly defined brand positions,” said Executive Chairman Arthur Martinez in a statement. “We are pleased with our performance for the quarter to date and are on track to deliver continued sequential improvement in comparable sales and achieve the profit expectations we had coming into the quarter.”
The search for a new Chief Exec continues.