Un-changing of the guard at Urban

After a tough year, Urban Outfitters reported that its CEO is being replaced (at least for now) by his predecessor, the founder of the company. It’s hard to know where this move will lead, but my RetailWire comment suggests that it can be tough to fill an entrepreneur’s shoes:

It’s obviously a period of uncertainty for Urban, not just because of its recent sales performance but also because of a failed transition at the top of the company. It’s also hard to say whether Mr. Hayne (the founder and former CEO of the company) is in place as a transitional figure before turning over the reins, or plans to stick around for awhile.

We’ve seen this sequence of events in many other companies: The founder can’t find a suitable successor, or he is unwilling to walk away. Without knowing the internal politics at URBN, it’s clear that the company is losing share in an environment where many other junior/trend retailers are doing well.


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