One of Abercrombie & Fitch's (NYSE: ANF) shareholders publicly urged the teen retailer on Tuesday, Dec. 3 to replace the company's CEO, Michael S. Jeffries after his contract expires in February in order to set a new direction for the company.
Investment firm Engaged Capital sent a letter to the company's board, urging Abercrombie to start looking for Jeffries's replacement.
"We are confident that an independent and objective evaluation of management's performance would result in the conclusion that an immediate leadership change is necessary," Glenn W. Welling, the managing member of Engaged, wrote in the letter.
The recommendation comes as Abercrombie has showed signs of struggle and ongoing controversy in recent years. The retailer posted losses of $11.5 million in the nine months ended Nov. 2, with sales down more than 7 percent over the same period. Before Tuesday's news, Abercrombie shares were down 29 percent this year.
And customers still haven't forgotten about remarks made by Jeffries back in 2006, where he defended the exclusivity of his brand and said the company markets to "cool, good-looking people" and that "a lot of people don't belong [in our clothes], and they can't belong." In the wake of Jeffries remarks, the company was accused of discriminating against plus-sized shoppers for not offering clothes above size 10 or large.
Jeffries, 69, became CEO in February 1992 and chairman in May 1998, after the company was spun off from its former parent, Limited Inc. (NYSE: LB).
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