Ralph Lauren Steps Down As CEO Of Ralph Lauren

For the first time since the company’s founding, Ralph Lauren will not be running the Ralph Lauren Corporation. The 75-year-old plans to stay on as executive chairman and maybe design some ties or something, but the new chief executive officer will be Stefan Larsson, formerly head of Gap’s Old Navy brand and of H&M.

If that sounds like an odd match to you, it might be. H&M and Old Navy are mostly known for fashionable(ish) clothes at cheap prices and quick turnaround when a new trend comes up. Ralph Lauren is known for… well, that’s sort of the problem that the company has right now.

Ralph Lauren (the company) has a lot of labels. It’s a designer line that you can’t afford, and then some sort of affordable lines, and then some factory outlets that are even more affordable, furniture and paint, and some clothing items that license the name but come from other companies. The company has been heading toward developing its luxury brands and seeking higher prestige, yet hired their new CEO from the most mass-market retailer in the average mall.

Ralph Lauren (the person) says that he will stay with the company for now, serving as executive chairman and creative director. His company has been unusual in that one person was in charge of the business and creative sides of the company, as he generally has been. “When they start designing things I can’t understand, I’ll quit,” the 75-year-old said during an interview with the New York Times before the announcement.

Ralph Lauren, Creator of Fashion Empire, Is Stepping Down as C.E.O. [New York Times]