1. Goodbye to George
Have we seen our last glimmer of George "You're going to like the way you look, I guarantee it" Zimmer?
Say it ain't so Men's Wearhouse (MW)! Or at least say something, because right now the whole thing looks very bad indeed.
Barely a week after announcing a 23% jump in first-quarter profits, Men's Wearhouse unceremoniously dumped its founder, executive chairman and spokesman Zimmer on Wednesday. The company alerted investors with a tersely worded statement that sent the stock down about 1%."The Board of Directors of Men's Wearhouse today announced that it has terminated George Zimmer from his position as Executive Chairman. The Board expects to discuss with Mr. Zimmer the extent, if any, and terms of his ongoing relationship with the Company," said the company, adding that it was also postponing its annual shareholders meeting, scheduled for the following day. Oh man, that is one absolutely chilling sendoff! They don't even thank the guy that grew Men's Wearhouse from one tiny Texas store into one of the country's largest specialty men's retailers with 1,143 locations and $2.48 billion in sales last year. It's just Zim Zam, thank you ma'am! As for Zimmer's response, well, he doesn't offer much more information about what really caused the split. Still, as compared to the board's frigid letter, he was nice enough to at least get heated up about it. "Over the past several months I have expressed my concerns to the Board about the direction the company is currently heading. 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 through termination as an executive officer," replied Zimmer. Eventually Zimmer and his former board buddies will have to come together and chat about his future with the men's clothing seller. Zimmer owns 1.8 million shares of Men's Wearhouse, or 3.5% of the company at last check in May, so he's going to have a voice at the company even if he will no longer serve as its face. Perhaps we'll know by then why exactly the board sent Zimmer packing, just when the company was on a roll. Heck, maybe it was all Zimmer's fault and he deserved to be thrown overboard. Right now, however, investors don't like the way the board looks and class-action lawyers are busy shopping for their own suits against the company. And boy do those vultures love a nice-looking suit. We can guarantee that. -- Written by Gregg Greenberg in New York Follow @5gsonthestreet
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