retail news in context, analysis with attitude

After several days of taking it on the chin in the media - both traditional and social - because of its firing of founder and spokesman George Zimmer, management at Men's Wearhouse released a statement yesterday saying that "Zimmer was let go in part because he wanted to take the company private by selling it to an investment firm, while the board did not want to take on the debt required for such a transaction." The company also said that Zimmer was intransigent in his demands, and at one point even wanted to be reinstalled as CEO with absolute power over the company's direction - alternatives that the board apparently found to be less than appetizing.

In his comments since being fired, Zimmer has acknowledged deep differences with the board about the company's strategic direction, though he focused in part of what he viewed as the company's move away from a “guiding principle of servant leadership” that put a greater premium on employee satisfaction and customer service, rather than share price.
KC's View:
It seems entirely possible to me that both arguments are essentially accurate; they don't necessarily contradict each other, but rather just choose different points to emphasize.

I have no idea if Zimmer was a total pill, or a total charmer, or a benevolent dictator-wannabe. In the end, my judgement is based on whether he's right about the whole "servant leadership" issue ... if the current board is more focused on Wall Street than Main Street, then I continue to believe that it is making a mistake with long-term implications, one that may send a lot of guys over to Jos A. Bank for one of their "buy-one-suit-get-87-free" offers.