Greenberg: Abercrombie Should Learn from Lulu
SAN DIEGO (TheStreet) -- Abercrombie & Fitch's
That's the moral of the story at Lululemon, where controversial founder Chip Wilson is stepping down as chairman in conjunction with the arrival of Laurent Potdevin, the president of Tom's Shoes, as CEO. The move comes as Lululemon, fresh from a CEO revolving door, attempts to revive its growth.
Compare that with Abercrombie, where longtime CEO Michael Jeffries just received a year-long extension of his contract even though the company's growth and stock have been in freefall.
It's not stock ownership. Both Jeffries and Wilson are known as strong-willed, strong-handed, micro-managing CEOs.
What's the difference? It's not stock ownership. Based on Factset, Wilson owns 8.9% of Lululemon, while Jeffries owns 1.3% of Abercrombie.
In my opinion, it's the board. Just scroll through the proxies of Lululemon and Abercrombie, and read the bios of the board members, and the answer quickly becomes obvious: Lululemon's board is simply stronger.
It's a mix of heavyweights, including the CEO of Airborne, a former CFO from Starbucks
By contrast, Abercrombie's board includes a former partner from Ernst & Young's office in Abercrombie's hometown of Columbus, Ohio, the head of the Ohio State University Alumni Association and an Ohio real estate developer.
Reality: This is all about corporate governance - the quality of the board. It's not a sexy subject, and not a media eyeball grabber but in the end, for investors, in the end it's what counts.
-- Written by Herb Greenberg
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