Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Ralph Lauren names Procter & Gamble executive as CEO

Ralph Lauren names Procter & Gamble executive as CEO

A man walks past Ralph Lauren Corp.'s flagship Polo store on Fifth Avenue in New York City, U.S., April 4, 2017.

United States apparel giant Ralph Lauren has named Patrice Louvet president and CEO, following Stefan Larsson's decision earlier this year to leave the company over differing views on the future direction of the firm. He most recently ran the company's U.S. $11.5 billion global beauty business that was sold past year to Coty for United States $12.5 billion. "If sales are proving hard to come by, companies need to generate the most profits out of [the sales] they do have", said Simeon Siegel, an analyst at Nomura Instinet.

Last week, the North Carolina Commerce Department announced Ralph Lauren is to make 107 lay-offs at its Kernersville, Greensboro, and High Point offices by 15 July. The company's margins have taken a hit as competition in the industry has intensified. Lauren himself stepped down as CEO in 2015 but maintains the title of Executive Chairman.

In a bid to turn around the business, the company has made major changes in its top management.

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However, it's possible Ralph Lauren is positioning itself to be bought, Cohen noted.

"There is a lack of confidence among investors that the company would be able to pull through all the initiatives it is now talking about".

He will replace Stefan Larsson, who announced in February that he would leave the New York-based company after less than two years in the job.

"He's an enormously skilled business leader with a deep passion for the consumer and a sophisticated understanding of building global brands", said Ralph Lauren, Executive Chairman and Chief Creative Officer. As of 11:10 a.m. ET, the company's shares were down 1 percent, to $73.21.

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Ralph Lauren's gross margins on an adjusted basis rose 90 basis points to 55.4 percent.

Earlier this year, the company said the plan has resulted in about $400 million of restructuring charges and $150 million of inventory write-downs and severance payments to Mr. Larsson.

Ralph Lauren said it expects current-quarter net revenue to fall in the low double-digit percentage range.

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