Ralph Lauren Picks First CMO As It Moves ‘Forward’

0aaralphlaurenOnly weeks after CEO Stefan Larsson said he would step down from the brand in May due to creative differences, Ralph Lauren has hired its first Chief Marketing Officer.

Jonathan Bottomley, who most recently served as the Chief Strategy Officer at Vice Media's content division Virtue, will be responsible for evolving Ralph Lauren’s brand voice, leading the global marketing team and building marketing strategies across the company’s brands.

Bottomley begins his role on April 3 and will report to Valerie Hermann, President of Global Brands and Ralph Lauren, Executive Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, on an interim basis. He will report to the new CEO once that appointment is made.

The luxury fashion and apparel brand has experienced the same struggles as many of its peers, as consumers gravitate towards more affordable options. In Q3, the retailer’s net income declined 37%, overall revenue dropped 12%, licensed revenue dipped 4% and comparable store sales decreasing 5%. But the retailer is continuing to move forward with its Way Forward Plan, a $400 million cost savings initiative that has already:

  • Re-focused and evolved the brand’s core product offering for Fall 2017;

  • Lowered inventory levels by 23%; and

  • Reduced SKUs for Spring 2017 by more than 20%;

Ralph Lauren has traditionally developed creative strategies in-house but the new hire signals that the company may be ready to work with agencies​ to offset sales declines. The retailer has posted a job listing for a new content marketing manager to work out of its New York headquarters. With more Millennials gaining buying power, this approach to repositioning the brand’s marketing strategy may be the change Ralph Lauren needs to connect with its audiences across channels.

The retailer also named Tom Mendenhall President of its Men’s Polo, Purple Label and Double RL brands. In this newly created role, all men’s brand functions will report to Mendenhall, including design and merchandising. Mendenhall joins Ralph Lauren from Tom Ford International where he served as Chief Operating Officer for more than a decade, working alongside Tom Ford to build the brand from its inception.

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