Less than two years ago, Ralph Lauren Corp. hired its first outside CEO, Stefan Larsson. Yesterday, Larsson and the firm announced that he would be leaving. What happened?
As reported by Suzanne Kapner for the Wall Street Journal:
“A dispute over creative control led Ralph Lauren Corp. Chief Executive Stefan Larsson to leave the struggling luxury fashion brand after less than two years at the helm. Mr. Larsson, a 42-year-old fast-fashion executive tapped to work alongside founder Ralph Lauren, said Thursday that the two men agreed the business needed to evolve but disagreed over the company’s creative and customer-facing strategies. Mr. Larsson said on a conference call with investors that his abrupt exit was a mutual decision.”
“Until a few weeks ago, all had been going well, according to a person familiar with the situation. Mr. Larsson had made strides streamlining the supply chain, with the help of new executives he hired, and Mr. Lauren was supportive of the progress he was making. Then, Mr. Larsson told Mr. Lauren that for him to be accountable for executing the business plan outlined in June, called “The Way Forward,” he would need control of the creative side of the business, which was Mr. Lauren’s domain, this person continued. Mr. Larsson argued that he needed the ability to hire and fire creative talent, this person said. Mr. Lauren, who has overseen the creative side of the business since he founded his label in 1967, was unwilling to cede that control.”
Take a look at this video clip from the WSJ.