Men's Wearhouse directors caved to public pressures to explain last week's sudden firing of George Zimmer, the company's founder and former executive chairman, painting him as a power-hungry leader who was straying from company principles.
"Mr. Zimmer reversed his long-standing position against taking the company private by arguing for a sale of the Men's Wearhouse to an investment group," the board of directors said in a statement released Tuesday.
Board members said that such a move would require the company "to take on a huge amount of debt" and that the "transaction would not be in the best interests of our shareholders, and it would be a risky path on many levels." The board also said that Mr. Zimmer, who co-founded the company in 1973, could not accept the fact that he owned only 3.6 percent of the business and has not held a chief executive role for more than two years.
"Mr. Zimmer had difficulty accepting the fact that Men's Wearhouse is a public company with an independent board of directors," the company said in a statement reported by CNN. Board members also referred to Mr. Zimmer's "refusal to support" other executives, including chief Doug Ewert, "unless they acquiesced to his demands."
The company initially refused to comment on Mr. Zimmer's firing Wednesday and subsequent decision to quit the board. But shoppers demanded to know what happened.
In the days since the ouster, Facebook exploded with criticism of the company and in support of Mr. Zimmer, who was widely known and popularized by his advertising mantra: "You're going to like the way you look. I guarantee it."
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