July 21, 2020 / 11:19 AM / 25 days ago

UPDATE 5-Tapestry CEO resigns amid internal investigation at Coach owner -source

(Adds statement from Zeitlin)

By Uday Sampath Kumar

July 21 (Reuters) - Tapestry Inc Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jide Zeitlin stepped down on Tuesday amid an investigation into his personal behavior, a source familiar with the matter said.

The source said the Coach handbag maker’s board had hired a law firm to investigate allegations from at least one woman of Zeitlin posing as a photographer under an alias to lure her into a romantic relationship over a decade ago.

Earlier in the day, Tapestry said Zeitlin had resigned for personal reasons, the latest in a series of top level executive departures at the company over the last year.

“In the past month, a woman I photographed and had a relationship with more than 10 years ago reached out to various media organizations to express her concerns about what had occurred,” Zeitlin said in a statement.

“I felt compelled to resign today because I do not want to create a distraction for Tapestry,” he said.

The Wall Street Journal first reported about the investigation.

Zeitlin, chairman since 2014, took over as CEO from Victor Luis in September, when the company was struggling to integrate its Kate Spade brand and keep up with the latest fashion trends.

He had agreed to lead the fashion house for the next three years. (bit.ly/2CpW7lr)

Chief Financial Officer Joanne Crevoiserat, a former Abercrombie & Fitch executive, was named interim CEO, while Andrea Resnick, head of investor relations and corporate communications, was appointed interim CFO.

Susan Kropf, lead independent director, was named chair of the board.

Tapestry said it would consider both internal and external candidates as it starts a search for a permanent CEO.

Since December, the company has seen its heads of Coach and Kate Spade brands leave the company.

Tapestry also said fourth-quarter revenue exceeded internal expectations and that its gross margin had expanded. (Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Anil D’Silva)

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