George Zimmer, the public face of Men's Wearhouse, is out of a job at the discount clothing chain he founded. Very few executives have been more closely aligned with the brand they manage that Mr. Zimmer who is famous across the U.S. for the commercials he has been doing for the company since the mid-eighties that concluded with him saying, "You're going to like the way you look. I guarantee it."
Since Men's Wearhouse failed to provide a reason for Mr. Zimmer's leaving the position, the rest has been left to public speculation.
"We believe that despite Zimmer's planned transition to a smaller role at the company, he had difficulty letting go of the reins and the leadership of the business,'' Richard Jaffe, a retail analyst at Stifel & Co., told USA Today. "We believe that this led to a conflict with the board and his subsequent termination."
Mr. Zimmer spoke with CNBC to offer his side. "Over the last 40 years, I have built MW into a multi-billion dollar company with amazing employees and loyal customers who value the products and service they receive at MW," he said. "Over the past several months I have expressed my concerns to the Board about the direction the company is currently heading. Instead of fostering the kind of dialogue in the boardroom that has in part contributed to our success, the board has inappropriately chosen to silence my concerns through termination as an executive officer."
Others believe that regardless of the reason for Mr. Zimmer leaving the company, it was time for Men's Wearhouse to retire him as its spokesperson.
"Most companies go through a transition period and change the way they present themselves,'' Gene Grabowski, a branding and crisis-management expert at Levick, told USA Today. "(Mr. Zimmer) and the slogan were getting a little aged. There is appeal to an older audience. They have to find a way to cater to a younger clientele."
Will Men's Wearhouse regret or be satisfied with the decision to fire George Zimmer?