New Lands’ End CEO Will Pack Suitcases, Move To Wisconsin

Image courtesy of Nicholas Eckhart

After less than two years with mismatched CEO Federica Marchionne in charge, Lands’ End gave the former high fashion executive the (sensible, waterproof) boot back in September.

When Marchionne was hired, one of her more memorable observations about the company was that she didn’t shop there except to buy her kid’s school uniforms, and neither did the mothers of her son’s classmates. The rest of the country, however, is full of people who are not wealthy Manhattanites and who like to wear elastic-waisted corduroys and sneakers.

The new CEO, Jerome Griffith, was the chief executive of high-end luggage maker Tumi and saw that company through being acquired by Samsonite. He also worked at mid-range fashion brands Esprit, Tommy Hilfiger, and Gap, as well as J. Peterman.

He has not made any public statements about whether he has ever shopped at Lands’ End, but probably already scored some points with employees with the announcement that he will be moving to be near the company’s headquarters in Wisconsin.

One possible strength that he has is experience in negotiating with department stores, since Lands’ End is still stuck inside Sears stores for most of its retail presence. It sells some items on Amazon, but may want to consider other distribution channels or moving out and getting its own place.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.