Levi’s chief executive Chip Bergh is set to retire from his role and will be succeeded by the fashion retailer’s president Michelle Gass in January.
Bergh is expected to retire on April 26 and has been elected as executive vice chair of the board until then, as well as remaining as a senior adviser to the business until the end of the 2024 financial year.
Levi’s said Bergh has contributed to making the business “one of the world’s best apparel companies”, as well as advancing the brand from what was a predominantly menswear wholesale business to a “global DTC-driven one”.
Levi’s said the brand will continue to benefit from Bergh’s “strategic perspective” while he remains on the retailer’s board.
The appointment of Gass as chief executive will complete the retailer’s transition plan, which was announced in November last year.
Since joining the retailer in January, Gass has worked alongside Bergh and taken responsibility for leading the Levi’s brand across product, merchandising, marketing and digital and global commercial operations.
Before joining Levi’s, Gass was chief executive at US department store Kohl’s as well as holding senior positions at businesses including Starbucks. She sits on the board of directors at PepsiCo.
Bergh said: “It has been an incredible privilege to lead this great company as CEO for the last 12 years. I want to especially thank my team, the board of directors and the family shareholders for all their support through the years.
“The Levi’s brand is the strongest it has ever been and as we pivot to become more of an omnichannel, direct-to-consumer retailer, it is time for new leadership.
“While I’ve known Michelle for more than a decade, my time working closely with her this past year has given me great confidence that her experience, track record of innovation and impact, and passion for the business will position the company for sustainable, profitable growth and significant shareholder and stakeholder value creation.”
Gass said: “I am honored to be stepping in to lead this iconic brand and company, one that I have deeply admired and respected for many years. Levi’s is more than a denim icon; it’s part of our cultural fabric and an enduring symbol of quality, innovation and progress.
“In the past year, Chip and I have traveled the globe, and I’ve had the privilege of meeting many members of the team. Those interactions have only underscored my confidence in the incredible potential of our business, the strength of our brands and the power of the company’s values-driven, profits-through-principles approach.
“I am incredibly excited to lead our amazing team and to realize our ambition of becoming a world-class direct-to-consumer retailer. As we build on our 170-year legacy, I’m more confident than ever that we have the right team and strategies in place to unleash the next era of sustainable, profitable growth for Levi’s.”
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