Michael Stanton Jeffries better known as Mike Jeffries is a prominent American businessman and was earlier officiating as the CEO of clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch from 1992 to 2014. Under his tutelage transformed the $25 million yearly loss-making enterprise into a lifestyle brand with a turnover of grossing $2 billion yearly by 2006.
However, his success was marred by innumerable controversies ranging from accusations of using scantily clad models in the brand’s advertisement to selling racially and sexually off-color slogans. His contention that the products of his company Abercrombie & Fitch are solely for “cool kids” came in for scathing criticism.
Michael Stanton Jeffries was born in 1944 or 1945 to Donald R. Jeffries, who owned a chain of party supply stores. He studied at the Claremont Men’s College and the London School of Economics. He completed his MBA from Columbia Business School in 1968. He is married to Susan Hansen and has a son.
Mike Jeffries’ Legacy
Jeffries started his trust in the fashion industry in the early 70’s and started as a salesperson for the clothing retailer Paul Harris Stores in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1968 he joined the management training program at Abraham & Straus. Abraham & Straus was a well-known department store but has now become defunct. His stint at the store brought him in contact with Allen Questrom and Mickey Drexler Allen Questrom worked for J.C. Penney while Mickey Drexler who was the previous CEO of Gap Inc., worked at J. Crew.
Alcott & Andrews which was a brainchild of Jeffries was founded in 1984 and specifically targeted career women. It was a roaring success in the beginning but an overambitious Jeffries sought to expand it by gigantic proportions and this led to a financial crunch and ultimately bankruptcy. Later Jeffries took a position at Paul Harris, a Midwest clothing chain. He became the CEO of the clothing brand Guess in the early 90’s.
Abercrombie & Fitch Co.
In 1992 Jeffries was hired by Les Wexner who was the CEO of LBrands, then named The Limited with a single aim to rejuvenate the ailing company which was formed in 1892 and was bought by Limited Brands in 1988 after bankruptcy. Jeffries started to give the company and its products a facelift and lift it from lethargy into a dynamic clothing brand. It is to the credit of Jeffries that the company’s fortunes soared and from the gestational pains post-bankruptcy it turned into a multi-billion enterprise.
He changed the outlook of the company from retro to an upscale apparel retailer for the collegiate. By the middle of the 1990s Abercrombie & Fitch had opened dozens of new stores. The company spread out beyond the wings of LBrands which was no longer heavily involved with the company, and eventually left it under the management of Jeffries.
Exploitation Allegations On Mike Jeffries
During the makeover of Abercrombie & Fitch Co, Jeffries had introduced many controversial decisions that made him the favorite punching bag for different groups such as the feminist movement and the American Decency Association, and a number of lawsuits were filed against the company. However, Jeffries was unfazed and stood fast to his beliefs and made statements that ruffled quite a lot of feathers.
A look at the statements to the press by Jeffries will reveal why he is such a controversial figure. He unabashedly said that he appointed good-looking people because good looks attract good-looking people and the company makes its apparel for cool, good-looking people.
He had originally raked in a cool $12 million as a stay bonus which was then slashed to half after a huge outcry saying that he was excessively compensated. However, he continued to receive hefty compensations and when he received a package of $71.8 million he was voted as “Highest Paid Worst Performer” of 2008 by Corporate Library. Like his controversial views, Jeffries did not budge and lowered his compensation package. Worse, he also refused to lower prices or offer discounts at Abercrombie & Fitch stores until the retail recession in September 2009 and the company after a long period of growth suffered a sales loss for 17 consecutive months. His employment agreement was set to expire in 2008 but A&F corporate announced that it had been renewed fresh and expired on February 22, 2014.
Post a slump in 2008, sales picked up in 2011 and his total compensation in 2011 soared to $46,609,075. His owning of 2.09% of the shares made it almost impossible to be removed from his post easily. A new contract was signed in 2013 which linked his compensation to the company’s performance. Jeffries stepped down in 2014 as the A&F CEO amid mass criticism of the company’s performance and 11 straight quarters of negative company comparable-store sales.
Jeffries and his company have also been accused of sexual exploitation of men and eight young men have come forward with allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse to the BBC. The incidents occurred between 2009 and 2015 and as per BBC Jeffries and his American businessman friend had hosted sex parties across the globe and has been indicted of having their own highly organized networks to conduct these illicit events.
How Much Is Mike Jeffries Net Worth In 2023?
Mike Jeffries has been regarded as one of the richest American CEOs of all time and as per the website Celebrity Net Worth, Jeffries has a net worth of $300 million. Most of this wealth was acquired during his tenure at Abercrombie & Fitch between 1992 and 2014.
|Born||1944 or 1945 (age 77–78)|
|Alma mater||Claremont McKenna College|
|Columbia Business School|
|Known for||Former Chairman and CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch|
|Spouse||Susan Hansen (m. 1971)|