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Posts Tagged ‘Mike Jeffries’

Abercrombie & Fitch Opts for Severe Corporate Makeover

shutterstock_131601398Another troubled company has taken its plastic surgery experiments beyond the cosmetic: this morning Abercrombie & Fitch announced an internal re-structuring that resembles a last-minute attempt to reverse its own failing fortunes.

The company voted to add three new appointees to its board of directors, terminate its “poison pill” shareholders’ rights plan and, perhaps most significantly, officially separate the Chairman and CEO roles.

To summarize, perpetual mouth-in-foot victim Mike Jeffries will remain the company’s leader in name only; the board has effectively re-asserted control over A&F by limiting the power of both its shareholders and its public face.

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Here’s a Simple Solution to Abercrombie’s Reputation Problems

how-abercrombie-justifies-paying-ceo-mike-jeffries-more-during-a-downturnAnd the answer is…drumroll please…dump the CEO!

It’s almost too simple, right? Abercrombie & Fitch would probably be better off in the long run if they produced some decent clothes or engaged in a little bit of that magic we call “rebranding”—but for now investors seem to think that chief super-douche Mike Jeffries needs to GTFO ASAP.

Unfortunately, BuzzFeed reports that the reason one “activist” Wall Street investor is so done with Jeffries has more to do with falling stock prices than the fact that he’s an idiot with a chronic case of Foot In Mouth Syndrome. The investment firm’s “open letter” is long and tedious if you don’t work in finance, and there’s a bunch of stuff about mismanagement and failed attempts at expansion. But we’ll summarize: Money good. Jeffries bad. Contract ends in February. HINT HINT HINT.

It would be a real shame if the guy who said “Dude, I’m not an old fart who wears his jeans up at his shoulders” could no longer afford to pay models to wear “proper underwear” on his corporate jet, wouldn’t it?

Abercrombie & Fitch Apologizes for CEO’s ‘Cool Kid’ Comments

Abercrombie & Fitch has been embroiled in controversy since Business Insider re-published disturbing comments CEO Mike Jeffries made in a 2007 Salon article, including doozies like, “A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely,” and “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids…we go after the cool kids.”

In a society deeply engaged in anti-bullying discussions and efforts to make standards of beauty and “coolness” more inclusive, these comments ignited a widespread and fiery backlash, including a grassroots re-branding campaign and a Change.org petition.

The petition, started by 18-year-old Benjamin O’Keefe (who has himself overcome an eating disorder), garnered over 70,000 signatures and asked the company to stop sending the message that teens aren’t beautiful, demanding A&F start selling clothes larger than a size 10.

Here’s a graphic recently published in the Huffington Post, which shows the major hit Abercrombie & Fitch has taken over the past month. For the full effect, we recommend listening to this audio clip of a nosediving airplane while viewing the graph.

After a brief apology Jeffries recently posted on Facebook failed to turn the tide, the company invited O’Keefe and members of the National Eating Disorders Association to its headquarters in Columbus, OH last week to discuss their concerns with executives. After the meeting, A&F released this statement: Read more

Take That, Abercrombie & Fitch — Man Rebrands A&F By Giving Clothes to Homeless

We told you last week about Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries only wanting his brand’s clothing worn by “cool kids” — i.e. no one that falls outside the stereotypical “All American” standards of beauty, including girls over a size 10. “A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong,” Jeffries once said in an interview. “Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

To make matters worse, it seems that less-than-cool kids aren’t the only people who don’t “belong” in A&F clothing — when garments are damaged and/or cannot be sold, rather than donating the clothes to people who need them, the company reportedly burns them. Why? Because homeless people aren’t the sort of brand representation A&F wants. So basically, Abercrombie has sent this branding message into the universe: “Six-pack abs and chiseled jaw required. Soul optional”.

In response, Greg Karber decided to give Abercrombie a brand makeover. After sifting through the “douchebag section” of his local Goodwill thrift shop for donated A&F clothing, Karber headed to LA’s Skid Row to hand out the clothes to the homeless, who, after displaying initial reluctance to accept the clothing (which Karber attributes to a fear of looking like “narcissistic date rapists”), eventually accepted the A&F clothes, completing phase one of Karber’s mission.

However, in the video below, Karber says that he can’t “clothe the homeless or transform a brand” all by his lonesome, and urges viewers to get involved. A grassroots re-branding campaign to teach a company to grow a soul? Like we said before: we sense a Glee episode coming on…

Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Allegedly Doesn’t Want Fat or Uncool Customers

We always knew we didn’t belong in Abercrombie; being accosted by overpowering cologne while dodging deer antlers and shelling out a year’s worth of allowance on a sweatshirt never particularly appealed to us. But then again, we weren’t blonde, lead cheerleader, and built like, well, we usually say “an Abercrombie model”, so we were pretty sure A&F didn’t want our business anyway.

Turns out, we may have been right.

When speaking with Business Insider last week, Robin Lewis, co-author of The New Rules of Retail, claimed that A&F CEO Mike Jeffries “doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people. He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids.’”

So what exactly deems a kid cool enough to earn the privilege of wearing the A&F brand? In a 2006 interview with Salon, Jeffries said, “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids…We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

So who’s automatically excluded from this “cool” group? Girls above a size 10, apparently. Abercrombie doesn’t even list women’s XL or XXL on its size chart. According to Lewis, the only reason Abercrombie offers XL and XXL men’s sizes is likely to appeal to beefy athletes. Read more