Ralph Lauren Steps Down as CEO of Iconic Fashion Brand

2 minute read

Ralph Lauren, the celebrity designer who has defined American fashion for decades, is leaving his role as CEO of the company he founded 48 years ago. Stefan Larsson, a former H&M executive and president of the Old Navy at Gap, will replace Lauren.

Lauren, 75, told the New York Times he plans to remain active in the company as executive chairman and chief creative officer. His move away from the longtime role comes following a rocky year for the apparel company: revenue dropped 5.3% year-over-year, and the company’s share price has fallen about 44% this year.

Larsson, a veteran of retailer H&M, took over Old Navy in 2012 and is credited with reviving the chain. Even as Gap sales have slumped, Larsson managed to bolster the Old Navy brand. Larsson will join the board and take on his new role as chief executive in November.

Ralph Lauren joins a handful of other American fashion houses going through a changeover. Earlier this year, Donna Karen stepped down from the company that she founded. Oscar de La Renta left his namesake in 2014 before he died. And Calvin Klein left his company in 2002.

Ralph Lauren encompass more than 20 brands, including its Polo Ralph Lauren line. Lauren popularized both a Western cowboy aesthetic (red-white-and-blue color schemes, leather boots) and the preppy country club look (cable sweaters, the iconic polo logo) throughout his reign over he company. In recent years, the company has focused on the luxury aspect of its brand with international customers as their main target. They recently hired St. Laurent’s Valerie Hermann to make luxury a separate unit in their business.


See Ralph Lauren's Most Memorable Designs

Robert Redford In 'The Great Gatsby'
Robert Redford, wearing a Ralph Lauren suit, leaning against luxurious car in a scene from the film The Great Gatsby, 1974. Paramount/Getty Images
Ralph Lauren - Princess Diana
Princess Diana is escorted by fashion designer Ralph Lauren during an event at the National Building Museum on Sept. 24, 1996 in Washington.Richard Ellis—Getty Images
Ralph Lauren - Annie Hall
Diane Keaton, wearing Ralph Lauren's design, and Woody Allen in the 1997 film, Annie Hall.United Artists
71st Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
Gwyneth Paltrow at the 71st Academy Awards on March 21, 1999 in Los Angeles.Jeffrey Mayer—WireImage/Getty Images
Ralph Lauren - Kanye West
Kanye West wearing the Polo Bear sweater on Jan. 19, 2004 at Park City, Utah .Mychal Watts—WireImage/Getty Images
Polo Ralph Lauren Legends Tennis Clinic With Venus Williams
Venus Williams, wearing Ralph Lauren, at the 2010 U.S. Open on Aug. 26, 2010 in New York City.Joe Kohen—WireImage
Ralph Lauren - Dwayne Wade
Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union at the Bridgehampton Polo closing day on Aug. 28, 2010 in Bridgehampton, NY.Eugene Gologursky—WireImage/Getty Images
Ralph Lauren - Oprah Winfrey
Ralph Lauren and Oprah Winfrey at an evening with Ralph Lauren presented at Lincoln Center on Oct. 24, 2011 in New York City. Larry Busacca—Getty Images
Ralph Lauren - Leonardo Dicaprio
Leonardo Dicaprio wearing a white Ralph Lauren Polo shirt in the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street.Paramount Pictures
Ralph Lauren - Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp wearing a Ralph Lauren designed outfit at the world premiere of The Lone Ranger on June 22, 2013 in Anaheim, Calif.Jeffrey Mayer—WireImage/Getty Images
TODAY Show - 100 Days Out Sochi Winter Olympics Event
(L-R)Figure Skating Oympic Athlete Evan Lysacek, Ice Hockey Oympic Athlete Julie Chu, Ice Dancers Oympic Athlete Meryl Davis and Charlie White model the Olympic closing ceremony outfits by Ralph Lauren on Oct. 29, 2013 in New York City.Mike Stobe—Getty Images
Ralph Lauren - Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift wearing a Ralph Lauren dress at the 2013 People's Choice Awards on Jan. 9, 2013 in Los Angeles.Jon Kopaloff—FilmMagic/Getty Images
Ralph Lauren - Lupita Nyong'o
Lupita Nyong'o attends the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 12, 2014 in Los Angeles.George Pimentel—WireImage/Getty Images
Ralph Lauren - Emma Watson
Emma Watson at The Royal Marsden dinner on May 13, 214 in Windsor, England.Chris Jackson—Getty Images
Ralph Lauren - Spring 2015
A projection on water at the Polo Ralph Lauren Spring Summer 2015 fashion show during New York Fashion Week on Sept. 8, 2014 in New York City.Getty Images

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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com