Abercrombie & Fitch chief executive steps down

Michael Jeffries had been removed as chairman due to falling sales

Michael Jeffries stirred controversy when he said Abercrombie’s clothes were not meant for “fat” people. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Michael Jeffries stirred controversy when he said Abercrombie’s clothes were not meant for “fat” people. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

 

Abercrombie & Fitch Co chief executive Michael Jeffries, who transformed the logo-centric clothing retailer from a drab sports brand into a fashion icon before running foul of shoppers and investors, has stepped down after over two decades at the helm.

Jeffries, 70, faced flak in recent years for failing to keep pace with the tastes of teenage shoppers, who are increasingly turning to “fast fashion” chains such as Forever 21 and Inditex’s Zara. A team led by executive chairman Arthur Martinez will manage day-to-day operations until a new CEO is named.

Jeffries stirred controversy when he said Abercrombie’s clothes were not meant for “fat” people. Failing to recover from the damage to its image following the comments, the company removed Jeffries as chairman in January after two years of falling sales.