Ralph Lauren steps down as CEO
Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Ralph Lauren is stepping down as chief executive of the quintessentially American fashion empire he has built up with its signature preppy look over nearly 50 years, the company announced Tuesday.

Lauren, 75, who has become an iconic figure in fashion from modest beginnings as a self-taught tie designer, will stay on as chief creative officer but hands over the top executive post in November, it said.


Taking over will be 41-year-old Stefan Larsson, global president of the Old Navy brand for Gap, who also previously worked for Swedish fashion giant Hennes & Mauritz (H&M).


Lauren, who figures among US fashion royalty, described his successor as "exceptionally talented." "He will bring our company a fresh and exciting global perspective," he said.

"We have been a leader in our industry for nearly 50 years, and this is just the beginning."


Born Ralph Lifshitz in the Bronx in New York City to Jewish immigrant parents, Lauren is a fashion autodidact who never went to design school.

He began designing men's neckties under the Polo brand in 1967.

In 1972, he developed the signature short-sleeved shirts with the small logo of a polo player that have become the beloved staple of classically dressed youths around the world.

He later went on to build up a worldwide retail network with moves into fragrances, accessories and women's fashion.

Last year Ralph Lauren Corporation rung up $7.6 billion in sales.

Lauren himself ranks 74th on the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans, with $6.2 billion.

The company's latest financial results disappointed investors, however, and its share price is down 43 percent over the past 12 months.


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