J Crew’s CEO James Brett steps down abruptly

J Crew

J Crew’s chief executive James Brett has stepped down from the company with immediate effect after just 17 months.

Brett was flown in last July to head up a turnaround effort at the retailer which succeeded in returning it to growth.

The relaunch, which saw J Crew introduce larger sizes and reduce prices, saw it achieve a one per cent growth in comparable sales in its second quarter, up from a four per cent decline in the prior three-month period.

A mutual agreement with the board has now been reached, and a group of four senior executives including its president and chief operating officer will take on Brett’s responsibilities until a permanent replacement is found.

“Returning J Crew to its iconic status required reinventing the brand to reflect the America of today with a more expansive, more inclusive fashion concept,” Brett said.

“However, despite the recent brand relaunch already showing positive results, the board and I were unable to bridge our beliefs on how to continue to evolve all aspects of the company.”

The board said: “Jim’s passion and experience brought new energy to J Crew and enhanced our ability to relate to a broad range of consumers, and we thank him for his hard work and thoughtful contributions to position our company for long-term success.

“Building on Jim’s early progress, the leadership team remains committed to driving performance and results, as well as continuing to strengthen operations, enhance customer loyalty and extend brand reach.”

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