Joele Frank handles A&F management change comms

Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher is helping Abercrombie & Fitch with its communications strategy for board and management changes made last week.

NEW ALBANY, OH: Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher is helping Abercrombie & Fitch with its communications strategy for board and management changes made last week.

Representatives from Abercrombie and Joele Frank confirmed the companies' relationship, but declined to disclose further details.

Last week, Abercrombie promoted Jonathan Ramsden to COO, a new role at the company, from EVP and CFO. He will also handle the CFO's responsibilities until the company finds a replacement.

The retail and catalog brand also appointed Arthur Martinez, Terry Burman, and Charles Perrin to its board of directors, effective immediately, and separated the roles of chairman of the board and CEO. Martinez, Sears' former CEO, was also appointed non-executive chairman. Abercrombie's board also terminated the company's shareholder rights plan.

Michael Jeffries will continue to serve as CEO, but will lose his duties as chairman. Craig Stapleton will no longer serve as lead independent director, though he will continue to serve as a director and chair of the nominating and board governance committee.

ÔÇťAlong with the new brand president positions, the creation of the new COO role will ensure we are organized for renewed growth and success going forward," Jeffries said in a statement.

The board and management changes took place after Engaged Capital founder and activist investor Glenn Welling sent a nine-page open letter to Abercrombie's board in December, calling for Jeffries' ouster and urging the company to consider a sale.

In September, the retailer lost a court battle over a case in which a hijab-wearing Muslim worker was allegedly fired for aesthetics. Earlier last year, Jeffries came under fire for his decisions to ban black clothing and women's sizes greater than 10 in Abercrombie's stores.

The retailer generated revenue of $1.033 billion in the third quarter of 2013, down 12% compared with the previous year. It also reported a loss of $15.6 million in the period. It is planning to report fourth-quarter results on February 26.

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