Pedestrians walk past a Levi’s store in Hong Kong.
soba pictures | Rocket Lite | Getty Images
Levi Calls on CEO Chip Berg to resign and hands over the reins to his long-appointed successor Michelle Gass, former CEO of ColeThe company announced on Thursday.
Gass is scheduled to take over the position of CEO next January. Berg will officially retire on April 29, and will remain as Executive Vice President of the Board of Directors until then. Once he retires, he will serve as a consultant until the end of the fiscal year.
“Chip has transformed this company and will leave it much better than when he arrived,” said Bob Eckert, Chairman of Levi’s. “I know we will continue to benefit from Chip’s strategic perspective as he continues to serve on the Company’s Board of Directors.”
Berg took over as CEO of Levi’s in 2011 and is one of the few people to run the company who is not related to its original founder, Levi Strauss. During Berg’s tenure, he led Levi’s through its March 2019 IPO, its acquisition of Beyond Yoga and its deeper expansion into women’s offerings.
He also transformed the company into a direct-to-consumer powerhouse that no longer relied solely on its wholesale partners. In doing so, he revitalized the Levi’s brand and maintained its relevance despite its 170-year legacy.
“Al Levy“The brand is stronger than ever, and as we focus on becoming more than just an omnichannel, direct-to-consumer retailer, it is time for new leadership,” Berg said in a statement. “While I have known Michelle for over a decade, the time I have spent working closely with her over the past year has given me great confidence that her experience, track record of innovation and impact, and passion for business will position the company for sustainable, profitable growth and great shareholder and stakeholder value creation. “
Levi’s appointed Gass as its next CEO in November 2022. She began at Levi’s in January and is responsible for leading the company’s namesake brand, including product, merchandising and marketing functions, along with its digital and global business operations. It has set its sights on promoting international growth and transforming the company into a direct-to-consumer premier organization.
“I am honored to step in to lead this iconic brand and company, which I have had deep admiration and respect for for many years. Levi’s is more than just a denim icon; it is part of our cultural fabric and an enduring symbol of quality, innovation, and advancement,” Gass said in a statement.
Like many retailers, Levi’s has struggled to get consumers to spend on clothing as inflation tightens shoppers’ budgets. In October, the company cut its full-year sales forecast for the second time this year, saying it expects net revenue in a flat 1% range this year.
Shares of Levi Strauss are down 1% this year, lagging the S&P 500’s gain of about 19%.
Don’t miss these stories from CNBC PRO:
“Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff.”