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Executive shake-up at Abercrombie & Fitch; suspends search for CEO


There’s been a top-level shakeup at Abercrombie & Fitch Co., with the company announcing a big promotion for one executive and the departure of another.

The retailer elevated the head of its Hollister brand, Fran Horowitz, to the newly created role of president and chief merchandising officer with responsibility for all brands. It also announced the departure of Christos Angelides, who has served as president of the Abercrombie brand since October 2014. And it said that it has suspended its active hunt for a CEO.

“Given our encouraging performance, the board believes we are on the right track and we intend to continue with the current governance structure. We are not actively conducting a search for a CEO at this time,” A&F chairman Arthur C. Martinez said in a statement to Bloomberg. (A&F has been without a chief executive since Mike Jeffries stepped down in December 2014.)

Horowitz joined A&F in October 2014 after previously holding senior roles at Ann Taylor Loft, Express, and Bloomingdales. She also served as a buyer at Bergdorf Goodman, Bonwit Teller and Saks Fifth Avenue.

"Fran's merchandising skills and her exceptional leadership, which has inspired associates to focus all their efforts on an intense understanding and commitment to our customers, has ignited a turnaround at our Hollister brand,” said Martinez. “This promotion provides Fran the opportunity to play an even greater role in our future success as we focus on building shareholder value by positioning each of our brands for sustainable growth."

In her new role, Horowitz will have responsibility for all customer-facing activities across the company's brands, including merchandising, design, planning, inventory management, marketing and stores. A&F said at the “appropriate time” it expects to name new presidents for each of its brands.

According to Martinez, A&F continues to make encouraging progress executing on its strategy “to provide compelling, customer-focused shopping experiences based on clearly defined brand positions.” He used the occasion of the Horowitz announcement to indicate that the company is pleased with its performance for the quarter to date and is on track to deliver continued sequential improvement in comparable sales and achieve the profit expectations is set coming into the quarter.

At the end of the third quarter, A&F operated 790 stores in the United States and 175 stores across Canada, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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