LendingClub - Paycheck-to-Paycheck Report July 2023

Levi Strauss Takes Next Steps in Previously Announced Leadership Transition

Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) has announced the next steps in a leadership transition plan announced about 13 months ago.

President and CEO Chip Bergh will retire from the brand-name apparel company on April 26, LS&Co. said in a Thursday (Dec. 7) press release.

Michelle Gass, who is the company’s president, will succeed Bergh as president and CEO on Jan. 29, the release said.

From that time until his retirement date, Bergh will serve as executive chair of the board, per the release. Then Bergh will transition to the role of senior adviser until the end of the company’s 2024 fiscal year.

These moves will complete a transition plan the company announced in November 2022, according to the press release.

“Chip has transformed this company and will leave it far better than when he arrived,” Bob Eckert, chairman of the LS&Co. board of directors, said in the release. “I know we will continue to benefit from Chip’s strategic perspective as he continues to serve on the company’s board.”

During his 12-year tenure, Bergh transformed the company from a wholesale business to more of an omnichannel, direct-to-consumer (DTC) one, reinvigorated the women’s segment of the business and revitalized the Levi’s brand, per the release.

Gass, who joined the company as president in January, has been responsible for leading the Levi’s brand as well as the company’s digital and global commercial operations while working closely with Bergh, the release said.

“Over the last year, we have seen the significant impact Michelle has had on sharpening the Levi’s brand vision as a ‘denim lifestyle’ leader while also positioning it to respond to fast-changing consumer needs and expectations across global markets,” Eckert said in the release. “We’re confident that Michelle’s extensive retail and omnichannel experience will position LS&Co. to thrive in its next phase of growth.”

Gass joined LS&Co. after 4½ tumultuous years as CEO of department store chain Kohl’s. PYMNTS reported at the time that the news was greeted cooly by Levi’s investors but welcomed by Kohl’s shareholders, who had spent most of the previous two years trying to force the chain to change direction, sell assets or divisions, or bring on new board members.