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Ralph Lauren is stepping down as CEO

The fashion designer will still remain in the company he founded, while Old Navy president Stefan Larsson replaces him as CEO

By Andrea Tim | Published: 30 Sep 2015

Ralph steps down
Photo: TPG Images

Ralph Lauren built his company in 1967, making it one of the most iconic American fashion names. Now, he is stepping down as chief executive officer, but will continue to serve as executive chairman and chief creative officer. According to The New York Times, Ralph is still the largest individual shareholder of the company.

"When they start designing things I can't understand, I'll quit," he told the newspaper. "But I don't feel like I'm stepping back now."

Replacing him as CEO is Stefan Larsson, who was Head of Global Sales for H&M before he became Global President of Old Navy in 2012.

The interesting thing is both Ralph and Stefan previously had some trepidation about the latter joining the company as its head executive.

"So I said, 'Where's he from?' And they told me: 'Old Navy and H&M.' I said: 'Why would I be looking for that? We're building a great luxury company,'" Ralph explained his initial reaction to the CEO candidate.

Stefan, too, questioned why Ralph would be interested in speaking with him. They had a private interview over dinner in New York, where eventually, they found common ground.

"I interviewed lots of people who were in luxury. But Stefan has a great quality that made me say: 'You can be my new C.E.O.,'" Ralph said of his new successor. "He's unique as a man, a man who's capable of building businesses and growing companies, but at the same time he's sensitive to people's feelings."

"If I thought there was nothing I could learn from Stefan, he would not be here," the 75-year-old added.

Related: Donna Karan steps down from her own label
Related: Confirmed: Alexander Wang is leaving Balenciaga


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