George Zimmer, who founded Men’s Wearhouse with a single store in Houston and built it into a national clothing chain, was fired Wednesday by company board members who, in his words, did not want to hear his concerns about how the company is being run.
But a financial analyst who follows the multibillion-dollar company suspects that Zimmer, the bearded baritone famous for his “You’re gonna like the way you look” guarantee in television commercials, had failed to successfully navigate the transition that began two years ago from hands-on CEO to a lesser position as executive chairman.
“We believe that despite Zimmer’s planned transition to a smaller role at the company, he had difficulty letting go of the reins an the leadership of the business,” Richard Jaffe, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus, wrote in a note to investors after the Wednesday morning announcement.
“We believe this led to a conflict with the board and his subsequent termination.”
That termination was announced in a bluntly worded statement just ahead of the company’s planned annual shareholders meeting. That meeting was delayed, the company said, to allow time to propose a new slate of directors for election.
The company gave no reason for dismissing Zimmer, 64, and said only that it would discuss with him “the extent, if any, and terms of his ongoing relationship with the company.”