George Zimmer: Men's Wearhouse 'Inappropriately' Silenced Me With Firing

Image: George Zimmer: Men's Wearhouse 'Inappropriately' Silenced Me With Firing

Wednesday, 19 Jun 2013 03:48 PM

By Ken Mandel

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After news of his ouster spread Wednesday, Men's Wearhouse founder and former executive chairman George Zimmer gave his side of the story in a statement.

Zimmer, 64, known to millions of consumers for delivering the tagline, "You're going to like the way you look. I guarantee it," said the company's board "has inappropriately chosen to silence my concerns."

"Over the last 40 years, I have built The Men's Wearhouse into a multibillion-dollar company with amazing employees and loyal customers who value the products and service they receive at The Men's Wearhouse," Zimmer said in a statement.

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"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 by terminating me as an executive officer."

The company, which was founded in 1973 by Zimmer, postponed its annual shareholders meeting "in light of Mr. Zimmer's termination."

Based in Fremont, Calif., Men's Wearhouse is one of the country's largest specialty men's retailers with 1,143 stores across the United States. The company also operates Moores and K&G Stores.

Before his termination, Zimmer had already reduced his role over the past two years. He relinquished the CEO responsibilities to Doug Ewert in 2011, and designer Joseph Abboud was named as chief creator director in December 2012.

"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," Stifel Nicolaus analyst Richard Jaffe wrote in his note to investors. "We believe that this led to a conflict with the board and his subsequent termination."

A Men's Wearhouse spokesman declined to comment to ABC News.

Zimmer's most recent pay figure is close to $2 million, according to executive compensation data firm Equilar. He also owned nearly 1.8 million shares, or 3 percent of the company, worth about $66.4 million based on Tuesday's closing stock price of $37.47.

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