San Francisco — President & CEO Chip Bergh has decided to retire from Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) as of April 26, 2024. In anticipation of Bergh’s retirement, the company’s board of directors has elected Michelle Gass, currently the company’s president, to succeed Bergh as president and chief executive officer, effective Jan. 29, 2024, completing the transition plan announced on Nov. 8, 2022. In addition, the board has elected Bergh as executive vice chair of the board until his retirement date. Thereafter, Bergh will transition to the role of senior advisor until the end of the company’s 2024 fiscal year.
“We would like to thank Chip for his inspirational leadership and unwavering commitment to the company over the last 12-plus years,” says Bob Eckert, chairman of the LS&Co. board of directors. “Chip has transformed this company and will leave it far better than when he arrived. I know we will continue to benefit from Chip’s strategic perspective as he continues to serve on the company’s board.”
Over the course of his tenure, Bergh evolved the company into one of the world’s best apparel companies and advanced the Levi’s® business from a predominantly men’s U.S. wholesale bottoms business to a global, DTC-driven one, in addition to reinvigorating the women’s business. Bergh also revitalized the Levi’s® brand, repositioning it at the center of culture through strategic initiatives like claiming the naming rights for Levi’s® Stadium and deepening the brand’s connection to the music industry. Notably, LS&Co. returned to the public markets with a successful IPO in March 2019 and expanded the company’s brand portfolio with the acquisition of Beyond Yoga in 2021.
Eckert adds: “We are thrilled to have Michelle become LS&Co.’s next CEO. This was a well-executed transition that required great humility and teamwork between Chip and Michelle, and it couldn’t have gone better. Over the last year, we have seen the significant impact Michelle has had on sharpening the Levi’s® brand vision as a ‘denim lifestyle’ leader while also positioning it to respond to fast-changing consumer needs and expectations across global markets. We’re confident that Michelle’s extensive retail and omnichannel experience will position LS&Co. to thrive in its next phase of growth.”
Since starting as president of LS&Co. in January 2023, Gass has been responsible for leading the Levi’s® brand, including its product, merchandising and marketing functions, as well as the company’s digital and global commercial operations, while working closely with Bergh. Gass has been focused on accelerating international growth, positioning the Levi’s® brand as a head-to-toe denim lifestyle apparel business and transitioning LS&Co.’s operating model to a DTC-first organization.
Levi Strauss & Co. is one of the world’s largest brand-name apparel companies and a global leader in jeanswear. The company designs and markets jeans, casual wear and related accessories for men, women and children under the Levi’s®, Dockers®, Signature by Levi Strauss & Co.™, Denizen® and Beyond Yoga® brands. Its products are sold in more than 110 countries worldwide through a combination of chain retailers, department stores, online sites and a global footprint of approximately 3,200 brand-dedicated stores and shop-in-shops. For more information, visit http://levistrauss.com.
SOURCE: Levi Strauss & Co.