Abercrombie & Fitch share price rises as top boss Michael Jeffries resigns

 
Kate McCann
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Abercrombie & Fitch courted controversy with its policy of employing only attractive staff

Controversial Abercrombie & Fitch boss Michael Jeffries resigned yesterday, sending the clothing company’s share price up by around eight per cent.

The struggling teen fashion giant, which has suffered disappointing sales in recent years, has hired an executive search firm to find a replacement chief executive after Jeffries’ resignation, which is effective immediately.

In a statement, Arthur Martinez, now executive chairman of the board at Abercrombie, said: “It is impossible to overstate Mike Jeffries’ extraordinary accomplishments in building Abercrombie & Fitch to the iconic status the brand now enjoys. Going forward, we are confident in our talented senior leadership team and the steps we are taking to revitalise our brands and business.” Jeffries himself added: “I believe now is the right time for new leadership to take the company forward in the next phase of its development.”

However, critics have questioned the timing of the announcement, right before the busy Christmas trading period. “For Jeffries to retire during the holiday period is surprising, and speaks, we believe, to continued weakness at the company and the overall teen space,” Wunderlich Securities analyst Eric Beder wrote in a note yesterday.

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