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Ralph Lauren, Creator of Fashion Empire, Is Stepping Down as C.E.O

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Ralph Lauren with Stefan Larsson, who is succeeding him as chief executive, at the Ralph Lauren offices in New York.

Ralph Lauren, the quintessential American designer who built a fashion empire based on sweeping fantasies of country-club prep and the Wild West, is stepping down from his post as chief executive of the company.
Taking the helm at Ralph Lauren is Stefan Larsson, a former H&M executive and president of Old Navy, Gap’s down-market brand, which he is credited with reviving. Old Navy has consistently been one of the few bright spots in Gap’s brand portfolio since Mr. Larsson, who is Swedish, took over in 2012, making him one of the most visible executives in retailing.
The change may be viewed as a move byRalph Lauren to get its financial house in order. Earnings at the upscale apparel company, known for its Polo brand, have been pressured by a strong dollar and intense competition in the luxury space. Its latest quarterly earnings of $1.09 a share topped analyst estimates, but revenue dipped 5.3 percent on a year-over-year basis. The company’s share price has slumped by almost half this year.
In an interview, Mr. Lauren, 75, said he intended to remain active at the company he founded almost a half-century ago in roles as executive chairman and chief creative officer. Mr. Larsson will report to Mr. Lauren, though Mr. Lauren characterized their relationship as a “partnership.”

New York Times

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