Controversial gay Abercrombie & Fitch CEO steps down

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The openly gay CEO of clothing brand Abercrombie & Fitch, Mike Jeffries, has announced he is retiring.

Mr Jeffries has helmed the clothing brand for over two decades – and was one of the only openly gay business leaders in the US.

The frequently outspoken business leader had caused controversy multiple times – for only hiring ‘good looking’ employees, and for claiming the company doesn’t make large sizes because he doesn’t want overweight people wearing their brand.

He has said previously: “That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.

“Abercrombie is only interested in people with washboard stomachs who look like they’re about to jump on a surfboard.”

“I don’t want our core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing our clothing.”

He has also said the brand is ‘not gay’, adding: “I think that what we represent sexually is healthy. It’s playful. It’s not dark. It’s not degrading!

“And it’s not gay, and it’s not straight, and it’s not black, and it’s not white. It’s not about any labels.

“That would be cynical, and we’re not cynical!

“It’s all depicting this wonderful camaraderie, friendship, and playfulness that exist in this generation and, candidly, does not exist in the older generation.”

After the company’s profits and sales tumbled, he announced his retirement this week – stepping down as CEO and quitting the company’s board of directors.

He told the company: “It has been an honor to lead this extraordinarily talented group of people.

“I am extremely proud of your accomplishments. I believe now is the right time for new leadership to take the Company forward in the next phase of its development.”