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Ralph Lauren Is Stepping Down as CEO of His Brand

Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

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Ralph Lauren is stepping down as CEO after holding that title since he founded the brand 48 years ago. Lauren will remain design chief of the brand while Stefan Larsson, who last served as global president for Old Navy, will fill the void left by the iconic American designer. Lauren says that the change is not about him being less involved in the brand; rather he hopes the move will help the company grow even larger.

"The company has to change," Lauren tells the Wall Street Journal. "It's a public company and we have a responsibility to have the right leadership." Larsson is credited with rejuvenating sluggish sales at Old Navy and spent 15 years with H&M before his tenure at Gap, Inc. Meanwhile, Lauren doesn't sound like a man ready to leave the company behind completely. "When they start designing things I can’t understand, I’ll quit," he told The New York Times. Larsson added, "One of the biggest reasons for me to join is the opportunity to work side by side with someone like Ralph."

The move has also caused some reshuffling at the Gap, where Old Navy executive vice president of Global Product Jill Stanton, who previously worked at Nike, will fill Larsson's vacated position in the interim, the company said in a statement. The Gap also added that the search for a new permanent global president of Old Navy is already underway.