Men's Wearhouse Board Outlines Why It Fired Zimmer

The Men's Wearhouse (NYSE: MW  ) board of directors, which abruptly terminated 64-year-old company co-founder George Zimmer from his position as executive chairman last week, today commented on why it was severing its ties with the company's iconic face and voice.

The board said Zimmer "had difficulty accepting the fact that Men's Wearhouse is a public company with an independent Board of Directors and that he has not been the Chief Executive Officer for two years. He advocated for significant changes that would enable him to regain control ... "

According to the board of directors, issues of contention included:

  • A refusal to support CEO Doug Ewert and his management team unless they "acquiesced to his demands." Zimmer handed over the CEO title to Ewert in 2011.
  • An expectation of "veto power over significant corporate decisions" including executive compensation.
  • A desire to take the company private despite the board's belief that "such a transaction would be highly risky."

Men's Wearhouse's annual shareholders meeting, which was to be held on June 19, has been postponed to a to-be-announced date in order to renominate its current slate of directors, but without Zimmer.

Zimmer, best-known for his gravely voiced television sales pitch -- "You'll like the way you look. I guarantee it." -- submitted his letter of resignation from the board on Monday. Zimmer said in the letter that it's clear from his firing that the board is determined to avoid addressing his growing concerns with recent board decisions and the company's direction.

Zimmer built Men's Wearhouse from one small Texas store using a cigar box as a cash register to one of North America's largest men's clothing sellers with 1,143 locations.

Zimmer still owns 3.5% of Men's Wearhouse shares.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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