Tapestry CEO resigns in latest top-level change at Coach owner

(Reuters) – Tapestry Inc (TPR.N) said on Tuesday Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jide Zeitlin will step down immediately for personal reasons, the latest in a series of top-level executive departures at the Coach handbag maker over the last year.

The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, said on.wsj.com/2ZOSiip Tapestry’s board had hired a law firm to investigate allegations raised by at least one woman of Zeitlin posing as a photographer under an alias to lure her into a romantic relationship more than a decade ago.

Zeitlin said in a statement to the Journal that he was compelled to resign because he did “not want to create a distraction” for the company.

Reuters could not immediately reach Zeitlin for comment, while Tapestry did not respond to a request for comment when contacted.

The departure comes as a surprise, as the company said in March that Zeitlin had agreed to continue leading the fashion house for the next three years. (bit.ly/2CpW7lr)

Zeitlin, chairman since 2014, took over as CEO from Victor Luis in September, when the company was struggling to integrate its Kate Spade brand and keep up with the latest fashion trends.

Chief Financial Officer Joanne Crevoiserat, a former Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF.N) executive, was named interim CEO, while Andrea Resnick, head of investor relations and corporate communications, was appointed the interim CFO.

Susan Kropf, lead independent director, was named chair of the board, the company said.

Tapestry said it would consider both internal and external candidates as it starts a search for a permanent CEO.

Since December, the company has also seen the exits of the heads of its Coach and Kate Spade brands.

Tapestry also said on Tuesday fourth-quarter revenue exceeded internal expectations and gross margin expanded on a year-over-year basis, sending its shares 3% higher.

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