Page 3 Profile: Mike Jeffries, CEO


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Abercrombie and Fitch, aren’t they cartoon characters?

Uh, someone hasn’t been to the mall recently. A global mega brand with annual revenue of  $1.5bn, they sell hoodies, chinos and board shorts in shops that replicate Malibu mansion house parties. Mike Jeffries  is the CEO who coined this concept – designed to “sizzle with sex” – and it seems there’s no room for fat people in his fantasy.

A new book has revealed that he refuses to stock XL and XLL sizes to keep the brand’s customer base “hot”.

Sounds like he’s pretty particular.

Not half! He and his partner own a Gulfstream G550 jet staffed entirely by male models. The plane’s 47-page manual dictates that staff must regularly “spritz” their uniforms with Abercrombie & Fitch #41 cologne, gives a precise seating plan for their dogs, and states that tea must only ever be served with spoons five-and-a-quarter inches long.

Stewards may only respond to Jeffries with the phrase “no problem”, and winter jackets are to be donned the moment the outside temperature falls below 50F.

Is he allowed to behave like this?

A&F have been in hot water before, sued for racial discrimination and by a former employee born with no left forearm, who was banished to the stock room.

Jeffries has said: “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. We go after the cool kids.”

With murmurings that this attitude may be damaging the company, and lagging share prices, this playground logic may have run its course.

So what happens if the company wants to get  rid of him?

He made $46.6m in 2011, mainly from stock options. A clause in his contract ensures that should he lose his job due to an ownership change, he will be paid more than $100m in compensation.