Ralph Lauren Steps Down as CEO

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Ralph Lauren has stepped down as CEO of his eponymous fashion label after five decades at the top.

Thinking it best to recruit someone who could bring a fresh perspective, Lauren will hand control over to Stefan Larsson in November. Larsson has been running Gap’s budget brand, Old Navy, for the past three years.

Despite this, Lauren won’t be going far. His new roles within the fashion empire, famous for brightly coloured polo shirts and preppy ad campaigns, are to be Chief Executive and Chief Creative Officer.

Lauren is one of the most famous fashion figures in the world. He was born in New York City in 1939, and founded his empire in 1967 after studying business science and serving time in the army. First he founded a tie shop; this was closely followed by a menswear collection, (impressively created with no formal design training), and, in 1971, the Ralph Lauren womenswear collection was born.

Perhaps his biggest break of them all came in the year 2000 when Lauren signed a deal with NBC. His designer “lifestyle” ranges were now to be sold online, in print and on the TV, resulting in the preppy Ralph Lauren brand stretching across sportswear, casual wear and home furnishings.


The rest is history; over the years Lauren has enjoyed numerous successes from being declared Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris in 2010, to being awarded the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal in 2010. Lauren was responsible for the wardrobe in the 1974 film “The Great Gatsby”, has 466 stores to him name and has successfully created a brand popular with aspirational customers worldwide.

Since this magic formula has worked for so long, it has left wondering why the re-shuffle was necessary… But this sudden step down comes following a near-40% slide in Ralph Lauren shares over the past year and a decrease in net profit. In a bid to increase sales once more, Lauren has expanded online operations, created three new brands and, as previously mentioned, called in the help of Stefan Larsson.

Described as “exceptionally talented” by Lauren, Larsson’s experience at H&M during a period of rapid global expansion is sure to come in handy. He believes Ralph Lauren has great potential and is determined to aid the brand in it’s future growth.

We sense good things in Ralph Lauren’s future. Watch this space.

Let us know what you think @LibertyBelleMag

Words by Sophie Cockett

Pictures taken from Wikimedia Commons


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