Michael Jeffries, the Abercrombie & Fitch CEO with a track record of inciting controversy, has stepped down from his role at the company, effective immediately. Arthur Martinez, currently the non-executive chairman of the board of the teen retailer, has taken on the role of executive chairman and will lead day-to-day operations until Jeffries's successor is named.
Jeffries's departure isn't unprecedented. In December 2013, investors issued a letter calling for his dismissal when his contract expired in February 2014, citing poor performance "due to poor leadership" and Abercrombie's growing "irrelevance" with its core demographic — that's not to mention his history of making public statements about the exclusivity of the brand when it comes to plus-size shoppers. Company shares surged 7.3 percent following the letter's publication.
A week after the letter's publication, Abercrombie decided to extend Jeffries' contract to February 2015, but the company threw investors a bone last January, stripping the CEO of his chairman role, which went to Martinez.
The news of Jeffries's premature departure from the company comes just days after Abercrombie & Fitch delivered yet another quarter of sub-par financial results, with sales in the thirteen weeks leading up to November 1 slumping 10 percent. Teen retailers are struggling generally, so Jeffries leaving won't be an immediate fix for the company's flagging sales — but it's hard to think it won't help.
Abercrombie & Fitch's stock price shot up 6.6 percent on Tuesday morning following the news of Jeffries' departure.