Monday, June 23, 2014

News Now! | Christos Angelides, Abercrombie Brand President...

         WHO IN THE world is Christos Angelides and why him? That is the question rocking the Abercrombie & Fitch community – and will continue to do so across the field – since the announcement of the British fashion retail mover-and-shaker as the new brand president of the A&F and abercrombie kids divisions. Once incumbent of this newly created leadership position, this man will be in charge of specifically spearheading the FIERCE Moose into an anticipated future ever more brighter than the yesterday. Regardless of his noteworthy accomplishments hitherto, Angelides is only now truly coming into spotlight and, in effect, under critical scrutiny of how he'll fit in and be of well use to the distinguishable, globally-revered all-American icon.

A driven and outstanding individual in the industry, Christos Angelides, age 51 and a business and economics graduate of Leicester's De Montfort University, is the primary figure credited for the admirable profit turnover, during his tenure as Executive Director and Products Director, of Next, Plc. – a British retailer (of various-brands fashions, footwear, home, flowers and wines and spirits) which, in 2012, surpassed Marks & Spencer as the UK's biggest by revenue. With online/catalog at roughly 35% of net sales and accounting for well over 50% of profit among its many great milestones, Next has been positioned predominantly in the market and internationally during Angelides 28 years at the company.

He may keep a very private profile in the industry, but neither is he totally a shining star out of the limelight. Angelides, having been sponsored for the honor by Adidas, was one of the two people who carried the Olympic Flame, through Staffordshire, during its Torch Relay leg in the UK before the commencement of the London-hosted 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Drapers magazine online also listed him as #11 on its 2012 list of top 100 people in fashion retail.

Sought by Abercrombie & Fitch Co. was an individual with exceptional credentials with the capacity to direct merchandising and retail operations sharply in line, ever-healthy and progressive, with the specific aesthetic of the Abercrombie & Fitch and kids divisions. In code of such renowned aesthetic, this furthermore includes the necessity to maintain a distinct edge against competitors across all facets of the business and the continuation of building robust direct-to-consumer operations to a sizable portion of net sales. The Company also looks forward to introducing third-party selling via offering Abercrombie & Fitch goods on ASOS – one of the UK's biggest fashions and beauty online retailers and catering internationally to youthful consumers – beginning in the fall this year. Angelides is only a perfect match.

Being one of the most defining landmark moves for Abercrombie since the 1992 appointment of Mike Jeffries, the choosing of Angelides as the brand president is historic. Apart from the fact that this will be the first time in its modern history that Mike will no longer be the sole decision maker over the A&F label (although Angelides will still report to him, Mike being his superior), this will be the first time in its 122-year history that a non-American helms influential stewardship of the Abercrombie & Fitch name. Furthermore, qualifications for being a director of an A&F Co. division include being promotable for possible future internal succession for CEO: Angelides could well be the next in the imminent post-Jeffries era.

The perks of leaving Next as brand president for Abercrombie & Fitch and abercrombie kids will take Angelides to a new stage in his career for explosive higher opportunities, and it has all come in good timing for both him and A&F. Although being considered the major power behind the successes at Next, chances for higher aspirations' realizations within that company had been slim for Angelides and were to be so indefinitely: Simon Wolfson, current CEO of Next and about five years younger, is likely not going anytime soon. Also, despite Next being larger than Abercrombie & Fitch in terms of net sales, Angelides will now be in powerful leadership position of, and immersing himself in, a historic brand commanding premium reputability, worth, and unparalleled heritage – him coming to being on steppingstone for possibly being CEO of the greater Abercrombie & Fitch Co. in the future. With him, he'll bring his vigor and intellect into the Company in mutual benefit.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. has provided Angelides with an annual salary of US$995,000 (a sum equal to that of Diane Chang, Executive Vice President of Sourcing, and the now-retired-from-the Company Leslee Herro, former Executive Vice President of merchandise planning, inventory management, and brand sensing) to be paid out to him in bi-weekly installments during his employment. However, the salary amount is susceptible to performance and miscellaneous economic factors. He will be receiving multiple benefits and considerable grants options as stipulated in documents provided to him during the employment proceedings and as filled with the US Securities and Exchange Commision.

Furthermore, the company will be securing a visa for him to permit his working on US soil. Angelides has been offered a one-time relocation bonus payment of US$50,000 and also relocation assistance benefits (to used by December 21, 2015): "two house hunting trips for his family; temporary housing for up to two months; movement of household goods; and reasonable and customary closing costs toward the purchase of a new primary residence in Central Ohio (up to $40,000)." (All cool although the man is wealthy anyway). He will have to reimburse the Company for all relocation expenses if he resigns without Good Reason or his employment terminated for gross misconduct if it occurs within the first 36 months of his starting work.

Miscellaneous perks effective upon employment:
  • Use of the 8,000 sq ft A&F Gym fitness facility at Home Office. Membership cost of US$5 for all associates paid via automatic reduction on bi-weekly payroll.
  • For him, 40% discount on qualifying purchases on Abercrombie & Fitch and abercrombie kids transactions. 30% discount on qualifying Hollister Co. purchases.
  • 25 vacation days and 3 personal days, to be pro-rated during his first year based on his start date, per fiscal year. 5 sick days and 7 paid holidays provided to all Home Office associates per annum.

After one month of employment, he will qualify for the following:
  • Non-qualified Savings Plan
  • Entering the A&F corporate programs for healthcare coverage
  • Life & disability insurance
  • The Flexible Spending Account for healthcare and childcare for making payments "with pre-tax dollars via automatic payroll deductions".
  • The Associate Assistance Program with him and "any covered dependents access to free, confidential psychological, financial or legal counseling through [the A&F] AAP provider." Up to 8 free visits available "per specific issue".

After one year of employment, he will qualify for a Qualified Savings Plan.

The Company will indemnify, defend, and hold Angelides harmless to maximum extent permitted by law, and by A&F by-laws, in defense against any legal proceeding, should any occur, which may make him a part of as for being officer or director of Abercrombie & Fitch.

Christos Angelides signed on for employment with Abercrombie & Fitch Co. on June 10, 2014, underneath the signature of Michael Jeffries (CEO) and James Bierbower (A&F Human Resources) in a summary letter sent to him dated May 30, signed and sent back, and filed by the US S&E Commision that June 10th.

The most noted criticism of his choosing to work at Abercrombie & Fitch has come from Richard Hyman, a British independent retail consultant: "He could have had any retail job. He's done an outstanding job at Next and been at the top of headhunters lists for the last 10 to 15 years. He could have been running [Marks & Spencer]'s clothing business many times over." Hyman's reasoning on that stance of his is based on amusing ignorance that's made for mis-hit opinions for decades, "Abercrombie is one of those brands with its best days behind it." What a schmuck.

On the Company's June 10th announcement of having secured Angelides for brand president, Mike stated:

"We are excited to welcome Christos to the Abercrombie & Fitch team and to deepen our bench of senior leadership talent. Christos brings 28 years of experience working with a multi-billion dollar international retailer. His experience with all aspects of running a business made him the perfect candidate for this newly created role. Christos’ appointment is a critical step in our long-term strategy of being organized to win and we are excited to welcome him to the Abercrombie team."

Included with the release were these words by Angelides:

"I am honored to join one of the most iconic apparel brands in the world. Abercrombie & Fitch is a storied brand with global appeal and a clearly defined aesthetic, and I am excited to help the brand continue to grow. I look forward to working with Mike Jeffries and the rest of the A&F team at what is a very exciting time for the Company."

Angelides begins working for the Company in the fall: Christmas 2014 will be his first full fashion season incumbent in the position as brand president as will Q4 FY2014 be his first full business quarter in place. Welcome to the Fam, Christos!