gettyimages-455286472

It was announced on September 29, 2015 that founder and namesake  of Ralph Lauren Corp. would be stepping down from his CEO position of the multi-faceted company. Ralph Lauren will be succeeded by former Gap Inc. executive Stefan Larsson. Larsson served as global president to Gap’s Old Navy brand since 2012.

Larsson will be taking over his new role at Ralph Lauren effective this November. Ralph Lauren has seen a 44 percent decline in its shares this year due to the stronger value of the dollar hurting its sales abroad. At the age of 75, Ralph Lauren has decided to hand the reigns of the company over to Stefan Larsson, who while at Old Navy made the brand one of Gap’s star performers due to his style of leadership. By systematically identifying trends, creating an array of  variable fabrics for products, testing them in stores and then upping the marketing and promotion of the items.

Comparable sales at Old Navy have out weighed both the brands Gap and Banana Republic sales in the past six quarters. While Ralph Lauren will remain with the company he founded some 48 years ago. He will now serve as chief creative officer and executive chairman. So essentially, the core components of the company will remain the same. The shake-up comes with a need to please the board of the company, some saying that a younger mind is needed to face the new problems that occur in today’s industry. For example how to compete with emerging online retailers. Along with the position change, Chief Operating Officer Jackwyn Nemerov, who is in her 60’s and serves as Ralph Lauren‘s  #2 executive will also resign from the company. 

Ralph Lauren started as a tie salesman, selling wide-ties out of a Bloomingdale’s boutique in the 1960’s. The company later expanding to a full clothing retailer known for its re-imaging of the classic aristocratic American style. The New York based company, known today as a Lifestyle brand, went public in 1997. Its name can be found on everything from table clothes, to diaper bags, to perfumes and shirts. Along with a number of other items sold on the market today.

It can be assumed that given that fact that Lauren will remain with the company a executive chairman and chief creative officer, he himself chose to step aside and resign. Which, for the company, is a good thing. After all, Mr. Lauren has a unique style and voice. And it would hard and next to impossible to replicate his style.