Mike Jeffries (CEO)

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Mike Jeffries
BornMichael Stanton Jeffries
(1944-07-15) July 15, 1944 (age 70)
Alma materClaremont McKenna College
Columbia Business School
OccupationCEO of Abercrombie & Fitch
Years active1984–present
 
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Mike Jeffries
BornMichael Stanton Jeffries
(1944-07-15) July 15, 1944 (age 70)
Alma materClaremont McKenna College
Columbia Business School
OccupationCEO of Abercrombie & Fitch
Years active1984–present

Michael Stanton "Mike" Jeffries (born July 15, 1944) is an American businessman who is chief executive officer of Abercrombie & Fitch Co.

Early life[edit]

Michael Stanton Jeffries was born in 1944, the son of Shirley and Donald R. Jeffries (1918-1985). He grew up in Los Angeles, California where his father owned Party Time, a chain of party supply stores.[1] By the age of 12 his father was allowing him to choose the merchandise for the stores' toy departments.

After high school, Jeffries attended Claremont Men's College (now Claremont McKenna College) where he graduated in 1966 with a BA in Economics. He then received an MBA from Columbia Business School in 1968 and also studied at the London School of Economics (LSE).[1] That same year Jeffries joined the management training program at Abraham & Straus, a now-defunct New York department store. During this time Jeffries worked along with Allen Questrom (of J.C. Penney) and Millard S. Drexler (the previous CEO of Gap Inc., who now works at J. Crew).[2]

In 1984, Jeffries founded Alcott & Andrews, a brand targeted at career women. The brand was initially successful, although in 1989 it fell into bankruptcy due to overexpansion, and closed.[3][4] Afterward, Jeffries took a position at Paul Harris, a Midwest clothing chain.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co.[edit]

Further information: Abercrombie & Fitch
The chain store design in the early 1990s.
The logo of the new A&F.

Jeffries was hired by Leslie Wexner (CEO of Limited Brands, then named The Limited) to invigorate Abercrombie & Fitch. The company, founded in 1892, had been purchased by Limited Brands in 1988 after bankruptcy. Jeffries is considered to have been the main creator of the new look for the company, saying that he wanted A&F to "sizzle with sex".[2]

It was rebuilt as an upscale apparel retailer for the collegiate,[2] and by the mid-1990s, Abercrombie & Fitch had opened dozens of new stores. By 1996, Limited Brands was no longer heavily involved with the company, and eventually left it under the management of Jeffries.

During this time, A&F has offended groups as diverse as the feminist movement and the American Decency Association, and has attracted a fair number of other controversies and lawsuits.[2] An outspoken leader, Jeffries has been quoted making statements in the press that are considered controversial.[5] Such comments include his assertion that “We hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don't market to anyone other than that." [5]

In 2004, he made approximately $25 million USD with a "stay bonus" of $6 million USD, which dropped from $12 million after a controversy involving his "excessive compensation".[2] After surveying 2,000 U.S. corporations, The Corporate Library named Jeffries as the "Highest Paid Worst Performer" of 2008, after he received a compensation package valued at $71.8 million.[6] Jeffries refused to lower prices or offer discounts at Abercrombie & Fitch stores during the retail recession until September 2009, after the company posted same store sales losses for 17 consecutive months[7]

Jeffries' employment agreement was set to expire December 31, 2008.[8] On December 22, 2008, A&F corporate announced that it had renewed his employment agreement.[8] It is set to expire on February 22, 2014.[8]

His total compensation in 2011 was estimated at $46,609,075, most of this being in the form of stock options.[9]

Jeffries owns about 2.8% of the company's shares making him difficult to remove without his consent. His most recent contract calls for a payout of over one hundred million dollars should he lose his job due to an ownership change.[10]

On December 9, 2013, it was reported Jeffries had agreed to a new contract with A&F that would tie his pay to company performance.[11][12] Also in December, market commentator Herb Greenberg named Jeffries the worst CEO of 2013. Greenberg pointed out that the share price for Abercrombie and Fitch had collapsed by 40% during the year.[13]

Personal life[edit]

On April 3, 1971, in Miami, Florida, Jeffries married Susan Marie Isabel Hansen, a daughter of Charles Henry Hansen, president and founder of Charles Hansen Music Publishing.[1]

Jeffries has a live-in partner named Matthew Smith and three dogs named Ruby, Trouble and Sammy.[14] Smith heads The Jeffries Family Office, an Ohio limited liability corporation that "advocates for the personal interests of Abercrombie's CEO." He also reviews internal Abercrombie & Fitch documents and consults on real estate matters.[14]

Controversy[edit]

In October 2012, Bloomberg News first[15] reported on Jeffries' unconventional 1986 standards for his cabin crew on Abercrombie's Gulfstream G-V Jet. The male models who work as stewards aboard the company jet are required to wear Abercrombie-branded polos, jeans, boxer briefs and flip-flops as part of their uniform, as well as a "spritz" of cologne. This information then came to light as a result of a lawsuit that claimed Jeffries fired his own jet pilot in order to replace him with a much younger man.[14]

Male house staff for Jeffries, paid for by the Jeffries Family Office, is provided by the same modeling firm that supplies male staff for the company jet.[14]

In a 2006 interview with Salon, he has stated that his clothing line is exclusively for "cool" people. Moreover, he said he doesn't want overweight people to wear his clothes.[16] The comments came to light in 2013 and caused negative publicity about the A&F's marketing practices and target demographics.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Susan Hansen Sets Nuptials". The New York Times. March 14, 1971. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Denizet-Lewis, Benoit. "The Man Behind Abercrombie & Fitch". Salon.com, Burak KALAYCI the CO. Retrieved 2007-12-08. 
  3. ^ "Alcott & Andrews Seeking Protection From Creditors". The New York Times. September 1, 1989. Retrieved February 26, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Alcott & Andrews to Close Its Stores". The New York Times. October 14, 1989. Retrieved February 26, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Mike Jeffries quotations". 
  6. ^ Rooney, Ben (September 28, 2009). "Corporate Library 'Highest Paid Worst Performers' 2009". CNN. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Mike Jeffries Loses His Cool". retailindustry.about.com. Retrieved October 13, 2009. 
  8. ^ a b c "Abercrombie & Fitch Enters Into New Employment Agreement with Michael S. Jeffries, Chairman and CEO" (Press release). Abercrombie & Fitch Co. December 22, 2008. Retrieved January 6, 2008. 
  9. ^ equilar.com, retrieved 19 October 2012
  10. ^ Maheshwari, Sapna (18 October 2012). "Models on Abercrombie Jet Had Rules on Proper Underwear". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  11. ^ Booton, Jennifer. "A&F Doubles Down on CEO Jeffries". FOX Business. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  12. ^ Arnold J. Karr (9 December 2013). "Abercrombie Extends Michael Jeffries' Employment Contract". WWD. Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  13. ^ Greenberg: And the Worst CEO of 2013 Is...?, by Herb Greenberg, 19 December 2013, The Street
  14. ^ a b c d "Models on Abercrombie Jet Had Rules on Proper Underwear". Bloomberg News. October 18, 2012. 
  15. ^ "A CEO's high-flying standards". Columbia Journalism Review. October 19, 2012. 
  16. ^ Salon: The man behind Abercrombie & Fitch January 24, 2006
  17. ^ Business Insider: Abercrombie & Fitch Refuses To Make Clothes For Large Women. May 3, 2013

External links[edit]

External images
Photo used in Salon.com interview