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Buzzfeed unearthed more details from the lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch brought by a company shareholder group, and the article is definitely not flattering for CEO Mike Jeffries. Or Jeffries's romantic partner, Matthew Smith, who bizarrely seemed to have an executive-like role at A&F despite the fact that he was not employed there.
According to internal Abercrombie documents made available to shareholders for review as part of the lawsuit, Smith made 170 unannounced visits to Abercrombie stores around the globe from Vienna to Shanghai to assess the store's "appearances, staffs, and atmosphere." This was unbeknownst to the board, according to the lawsuit. One Abercrombie board member admitted as part of the suit that he knew Smith was choosing new store locations in Europe, but the board member didn't bring it up with the rest of the board. Smith traveled with Jeffries 95% of the time on business trips and the complaints allege he also received daily nonpublic sales reports. The shareholders suit alleges that Jeffries spent excessively on hotels and also travels unnecessarily by helicopter.
An Ohio judge previously blocked Abercrombie's settlement with the shareholders, but according to Buzzfeed, the group went back and narrowed the scope of the claims and the settlement got preliminary approval. Abercrombie continues to deny wrongdoing, but now they will need to appoint a Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer as part of the settlement.
· Abercrombie CEO Under Fire Again For Hotels, Helicopters And More [Buzzfeed]
· Inside the Weird, Heavily-Scented World of Abercrombie's CEO [Racked]
· Abercrombie's New Logo-less Look Still Isn't Selling [Racked]
· Ohio Judge Won't Let Abercrombie Off the Hook [Racked]
· A&F Quarterly: The Story of Abercrombie's Highbrow, Controversial, Sort of Amazing Magalog [Racked]