Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh Announces Retirement, Successor named
Levi Strauss & Co. has announced a change in leadership as CEO Chip Bergh steps down and hands over the reins to former Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass. Gass will officially take over as CEO on January 29, while Bergh is set to retire on April 26. However, Bergh will continue to serve as the executive vice chair of the board until his retirement, after which he will become an advisor to the company until the end of the fiscal year.
During Bergh’s tenure as CEO, Levi’s underwent significant transformations and achievements. Under his leadership, the company successfully completed its initial public offering, expanding its presence in the market. Furthermore, Bergh oversaw the acquisition of Beyond Yoga and played a significant role in the expansion of Levi’s women’s offerings.
One of Bergh’s notable achievements was transforming Levi’s into a direct-to-consumer retailer. This strategic move reduced the company’s dependence on wholesale partners and allowed for more direct engagement with customers. The transition proved successful, contributing to Levi’s growth and profitability.
Stepping into Bergh’s shoes, Michelle Gass brings a wealth of experience as she has been with Levi’s since January overseeing the company’s namesake brand and global operations. Gass is committed to driving international growth and has a vision of turning Levi’s into a direct-to-consumer first organization.
Levi’s has faced challenges recently due to consumer hesitation to spend on apparel amid rising inflation. As a result, the company has adjusted its full-year sales forecast, expecting net revenues to remain flat or witness a slight increase of 1%. These challenges have impacted Levi Strauss shares, which have dropped 1% this year, underperforming compared to the S&P 500’s 19% gain.
The leadership transition at Levi’s marks an important milestone for the iconic denim brand. With Gass at the helm, the company aims to overcome current challenges and continue expanding its global presence while aligning with the evolving needs of today’s consumers. As she takes the reins, all eyes will be on Gass to see how she navigates the company through the ever-changing retail landscape.
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