Ralph Lauren’s Future Unclear Following Exit Of CEO Stefan Larsson

Everything seemed to be going smoothly early on following the hire of Stefan Larsson in September 2015. The former H&M and Old Navy executive was brought into Ralph Lauren as chief executive officer with intentions of replacing Lauren himself.

Still, this relationship never truly seemed to get off the ground. Rumors have swirled ever since regarding their communication and difference in outlook for the company, though only as rumors.

That can no longer be the case following news of Larsson’s departure from Ralph Lauren effective May 1st. In his stead, chief financial officer, Jane Nielson, will continue to enact his Way Forward plan within the brand. She will do so until they concludes their search for a new successor to Larsson’s position.

It almost seems like a guarantee that the plan will not remain in place for long. Having been implemented by Larsson, it will be one very large remaining piece of his tenure left over following his exit. It isn’t, however, the only one.

There are also many employees within Ralph Lauren formerly hired by Larsson. Some of his team may stay with the brand, but incidentally the overall group itself will be no more in a matter of months.

What all of these changes, whether Larrson leaving, his plan being scrapped in due time or his team being dissolved, all point to is extensive changes within the Ralph Lauren organization. Though once again derived from speculation, the former CEO’s relationship with Ralph Lauren himself may be the spotlight of these changes.

The two were said to have many disagreements in regards to the brand’s creative direction. This also relays to the use of marketing and store experience in addition to control of either as well. In a Ralph Lauren earnings conference call, Larrson actually admitted that him leaving the brand stemmed from disagreements that ultimately could not be resolved. He did state that the parting was mutual based on such events.

The biggest issue surrounding these changes is the time necessary to enact them. This further disrupts a company that is already dealing with declining value of their stock.

The new molding of his namesake brand under Stefan Larrson may not have been moving in the direction or in the way in which Ralph Lauren may have wanted. Still, it seems that the process of removing him and starting over will bring its own hardship for the company in the coming months.

Finding a new chief executive officer that can work alongside or under him may be at the top of that list.

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