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Founder Of Men's Wearhouse Fired By Company's Board

Jun 20, 2013
Originally published on June 20, 2013 7:07 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And let's report on some changes in the American clothing world. George Zimmer, of Men's Wearhouse, might still like the way he looks, but we can guarantee he doesn't like this. The famous face - and gravelly voice - and founder of the company, is out. The company gave no reason for the abrupt firing. But Zimmer is speaking out, as NPR's David Schaper reports.

DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: His graying beard is instantly familiar. And he speaks with that signature deep, gravelly voice when delivering this famous tagline:

(SOUNDBITE OF MEN'S WEARHOUSE AD)

GEORGE ZIMMER: You're going to like the way you look. I guarantee it.

SCHAPER: But it appears George Zimmer will no longer be guaranteeing any men's suits, shirts, shoes and sport coats for customers of the Men's Wearhouse. The company announced in a brief, terse statement that it has terminated Zimmer from his position as executive chairman. Zimmer had willingly given up his position of president and CEO two years ago, after building the company from a single store, in 1973, into one of the largest men's clothing store chains in North America.

Over the last 40 years, I have built the Men's Wearhouse into a multibillion-dollar company, Zimmer says in a statement, before adding that - quote - "instead of fostering the kind of dialogue that has contributed to our success, the board has inappropriately chosen to silence my concerns." Some analysts suggest Zimmer has struggled to accept his transition to a smaller role in the company.

Still, he's credited with being an entrepreneurial visionary and one of the most recognizable commercial pitchmen in the country. And as of late Wednesday, his ads and his story were still featured prominently on the Men's Wearhouse website.

David Schaper, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.