Retail

Coach owner Tapestry CEO Jide Zeitlin resigns after woman accuses him of posing as a photographer

Key Points
  • Tapestry said Tuesday that Chairman and CEO Zeitlin has resigned for personal reasons, effective immediately. 
  • Zeitlin has resigned as the company has opened a probe into his personal behavior, CNBC has learned. 
  • Zeitlin had just taken over the CEO role in September from Victor Luis, and was chairman since 2014. 
Jide Zeitlin, CEO, Tapestry
Source: Tapestry

Jide Zeitlin has resigned as the chairman and CEO of Tapestry, as the owner of Coach and other luxury brands has opened a probe into his personal behavior, CNBC has learned. 

Earlier Tuesday, the retailer said Zeitlin resigned for personal reasons, effective immediately. 

The resignation comes as the company's board has opened a probe, using outside council, with a woman accusing Zeitlin of posing as a photographer under an alias to lure her into a romantic relationship more than a decade ago, a person familiar with the situation said. 

The board has hired the law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson to investigate allegations raised by at least one female, the person said. 

In an 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said: "Mr. Zeitlin's departure was not due to any disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company's operations, financial statements or accounting." 

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A spokesperson declined to comment further. 

"In the past month, a woman I photographed and had a relationship with more than ten years ago reached out to various media organizations to express her concerns about what had occurred," Zetilin said in a statement to CNBC. "I felt compelled to resign today because I do not want to create a distraction for Tapestry, a company I care deeply about." 

The departure is the latest in a slew of top-level departures at the company, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and has been trying to revive its accessories brands including Kate Spade. 

Tapestry shares were up 3.5% in early trading Tuesday. 

Zeitlin, previously an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, had just taken over the CEO role in September from Victor Luis, and was chairman since 2014. He had since been lauded as one of the few Black CEOs in the industry. 

Tapestry announced in early March that Zeitlin had planned to stay with the company over the next three years to work on restoring growth. At the time, the company also announced the resignation of Joshua Schulman as Coach CEO and brand president. 

The company said Tuesday that Chief Financial Officer Joanne Crevoiserat, a former Abercrombie & Fitch executive, has been appointed as interim CEO of Tapestry. It also said it is looking for a permanent leader and will consider both internal and external candidates. 

Tapestry's head of investor relations and communications, Andrea Resnick, has been named interim CFO. 

The company said Tuesday that despite pressures from the Covid-19 crisis, its fiscal fourth-quarter results have exceeded internal expectations, with inventory levels falling from a year earlier and the retailer using fewer promotions, helping gross margins. It expects to report earnings on Aug. 13. 

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the probe. 

Tapestry shares are down about 51% this year. The company has a market cap of about $3.6 billion. 

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