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Hugo Boss US Chief to Be Replaced as Clothier Seeks Revival

Hugo Boss said the head of its ailing US business, Gerrit Ruetzel, will be replaced at the end of the month after less than two years in the job.
Hugo Boss Autumn/Winter 2016 campaign | Source: Hugo Boss
By
  • Bloomberg

METZINGEN, Germany — Hugo Boss said the head of its ailing US business will be replaced at the end of the month after less than two years in the job.

Gerrit Ruetzel will leave to “seek new opportunities,” the Metzingen, Germany-based clothier said in a statement Wednesday. He will be succeeded by Anthony Lucia, who rejoins the company he worked at for a decade until 2008.

The departure of Ruetzel after 15 years at the company comes as Hugo Boss struggles to turn around its US business. Sales there fell 21 percent in the second quarter, marred by discounting. Reviving US revenue is a priority for new chief executive officer Mark Langer, who was promoted from finance chief in May to replace Claus Dietrich Lahrs.

"Ruetzel is paying for the difficult situation of the brand in the US," said Cedric Rossi, an analyst at Bryan Garnier & Co. Depressed apparel sales in America are an industry-wide problem, he said.

Hugo Boss shares were little changed at €54.19 at 11:06 a.m. in Frankfurt. They have declined 46 percent in the past year.

The reappointment of Lucia is “good news,” said Jurgen Kolb, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux. In his previous spell at the company, Lucia headed the US business for six years, overseeing a sequence of double-digit sales growth. Since then, he became chief executive officer of denim brand G-Star RAW’s North American business.

“He brings a lot of expertise and contacts, and already knows the company well,” Kolb wrote in a note.

By Paul Jarvis; editors: Matthew Boyle and Thomas Mulier.

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