Men’s Wearhouse Founder Had ‘Difficulty Letting Go,’ Analyst Says
(NEW YORK) — Retailer Men’s Wearhouse announced Wednesday that it “terminated” founder and executive chairman George Zimmer, best known to consumers for his hundreds of TV commercials pitching suits.
The company said that “in light of Mr. Zimmer’s termination,” it is postponing its annual shareholders’ meeting, which had been scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday in California.
Men’s Wearhouse, based in Fremont, Calif., was founded in 1973 by Zimmer. It is one of the country’s largest specialty men’s retailers with 1,143 stores across the country. The company operates Moores and K&G Stores in addition to its namesake stores.
Zimmer’s famous tagline was, “You’re going to like the way you look. I guarantee it.”
Richard Jaffe, analyst with Stifel Nicolaus, wrote in a note that Zimmer had reduced his role at the company “significantly” over the past two years. Zimmer named a new CEO, Doug Ewert, two years ago while designer Joseph Abboud was named fashion director.
“We believe that despite Zimmer’s planned transition to a smaller role at the company, he had difficulty letting go of the reins and the leadership of the business,” Jaffe wrote in his note to investors. “We believe that this led to a conflict with the board and his subsequent termination.”
While Zimmer has been the face of the company for decades, accumulating 500 hours of footage, Jaffe said, “The use of Zimmer as spokesperson has, coincidently been under review as management has been evaluating his effectiveness, particularly with the millennial consumer.” Zimmer is 64 years old.
A spokesman for Men’s Wearhouse declined to comment to ABC News.
The company said the annual meeting was postponed to re-nominate the existing slate of directors without Zimmer, and it will announce the meeting’s rescheduled date “shortly.”
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