German fashion house, Hugo Boss, whose recent expansion attempts have led to a series of profit warnings and a 50 percent plunge in the shares over the past year, announced on Friday that Christoph Auhagen, its Chief Brand Officer, is making his exit. According to a statement from Hugo Boss, Auhagen is leaving the board “by mutual consent” after six years with the brand. His departure comes just two months after the resignation of Boss’s Chief Executive Officer Claus-Dietrich Lahrs.
According to the statement from Hugo Boss on Friday, “The company's Supervisory Board and Mr. Auhagen reached an amicable agreement to this effect today.” Ingo Wilts will return for his third stint at the company and “will take up his post as Chief Brand Officer with responsibility for Brand and Creative Management no later than November 1, 2016.” Wilt was head of design from 2000 to 2004 and creative director from 2005 to 2009, before he left for Tommy Hilfiger.
As for how Boss can save itself from further growth woes, Bloomberg analysts claim the company needs to streamline its multiple brand lines and move more of its sales into its own stores, to be more like competitors such as Burberry, which recent announced plans to revamp its multiple collections. Moreover, Boss will be best served to seek an external candidate to take over the role of CEO, as a replacement for Lahrs has yet to be named following his departure in February.
With such financial turmoil (think: consistent disappointments in terms of revenue reports) and the recent upper-level changes, it is worthwhile to inquire as to the status of creative director Jason Wu’s role at the German brand. After getting a markedly strong start beginning in June 2013 when he took the role of artistic director, Wu has a difficult time inducing sales in the U.S. and China in recent quarters.
With a markedly strong emphasis on the growth of his eponymous label following its acquisition by InterLuxe in 2014; the impending launch of a brand new project – an affordable “sister” collection, called, Grey Jason Wu; and three years at the helm of Hugo Boss – the increasingly new term of a creative directorship – it is difficult not to wonder: Is Wu going to be the next one to jump ship?