Jeans brand Levi’s announces CEO succession

Iconic US denim brand Levi Strauss has announced that chief exec Chip Bergh is to retire, with the company’s president Michelle Gass to serve as his replacement.

Bergh, the former boss at Kohl’s, has led Levi’s for over a decade, overseeing the company’s return to the public markets with a successful IPO in March 2019 and acquisition of Beyond Yoga in 2021.

Announcing Bergh’s plans to retire in April, Levi’s praised him for evolving the company “into one of the world’s best apparel companies and advanc[ing] the Levi’s business from a predominantly men’s US wholesale bottoms business to a global, DTC-driven one.”

Bob Eckert, Levi’s chairman, said: “We would like to thank Chip for his inspirational leadership and unwavering commitment to the company over the last 12-plus years. Chip has transformed this company and will leave it far better than when he arrived. I know we will continue to benefit from Chip’s strategic perspective as he continues to serve on the company’s board.”

Bergh said. “The Levi’s brand is the strongest it has ever been, and as we pivot to become more of an omni-channel, direct-to-consumer retailer, it is time for new leadership.

“While I’ve known Michelle for more than a decade, my time working closely with her this past year has given me great confidence that her experience, track record of innovation and impact, and passion for the business will position the company for sustainable, profitable growth and significant shareholder and stakeholder value creation.”

Gass, who was appointed as president of Levi’s in January of this year, added: “In the past year, Chip and I have travelled the globe, and I’ve had the privilege of meeting many members of the LS&Co. team. Those interactions have only underscored my confidence in the incredible potential of our business, the strength of our brands and the power of the company’s values-driven, profits-through-principles approach.”

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