Men’s Wearhouse cans ‘I guarantee it’ founder
George Zimmer, the Bay Area clothing store executive whose raspy voice famously guaranteed how good a man will look in a Men’s Wearhouse suit, is out of a job — but he’s not going quietly.
In a terse statement issued Wednesday, Fremont-based Men’s Wearhouse said it had “terminated” its founder and executive chairman.
Men’s Wearhouse did not give a reason why Zimmer had been dismissed, but the statement said the annual meeting of shareholders had been canceled so that company’s board of directors “could re-nominate the existing slate of directors without Zimmer.”
The 64-year-old Zimmer — who founded the company in 1973 — fired back with his own statement, saying that he was let go because he had “expressed” concerns about the direction the company was heading in:
“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.”
Since 1985 Zimmer has been seen in television commercials pitching the retailer’s suits and clothing line with the slogan:
“You’re going to like the way I look, I guarantee it.”
The slogan and Zimmer’s photo remained on the company’s website at least through Wednesday morning.
After Zimmer started the business with his first store in Houston, the chain eventually expanded to 1,239 stores, with annual sales of $2.38 billion in 2012.
Last week, Men’s Warehouse posted its numbers for the first quarter, reporting better-than-expected results for the quarter, with sales rising more than five percent.