NEW YORK -- Ralph Lauren is stepping down as CEO of the fashion and home decor empire that he founded nearly 50 years ago.
The New York-based company (RL) announced Tuesday that Stefan Larsson, who has been the global president of Gap's low-price Old Navy chain for three years, will succeed him. The change will be effective in November, and Larsson will report to Lauren, who the company said will continue as executive chairman and chief creative officer.
Lauren, who Forbes reports is worth an estimated $6 billion, turns 76 next month.
Shares of Ralph Lauren, which have fallen more than 40 percent this year, were up nearly 5 percent in after-hours trade.
As global president of Old Navy for three years, Larsson has remade the business to be a bright spot in Gap's portfolio. Prior to his tenure at Old Navy, Larsson was part of an executive team at Swedish cheap chic fashion chain H&M for 15 years that increased annual revenue from $3 billion to $17 billion. During that time, H&M's operations grew to 44 countries from 12.
"My job is to think always about the future of our company and how to move it forward," Ralph Lauren said in a statement. "Stefan Larsson is exceptionally talented, and he will bring our company a fresh and exciting global perspective."
Ralph Lauren also announced that Jackwyn Nemerov, president and chief operating officer, will retire in November, at which time she will become an adviser to the company.
The news comes as Ralph Lauren, which generated sales of $7.5 billion in the latest fiscal year March 28, has been expanding its luxury business while beefing up its online presence. In the past two years, the company has added three new brands - Polo for Women, Polo Sport and Denim and Supply.
Gap (GPS), based in San Francisco, said Jill Stanton would lead Old Navy in the interim while it searches for a permanent replacement. Stanton is currently executive vice president of global product at Old Navy.