Tapestry, Inc.'s chairman and chief executive officer, Jide Zeitlin, has resigned from the company and its board of directors, after accusations that he once posed as a photographer, in order to coerce a woman into a romantic relationship, have surfaced.
On Tuesday, the company – which owns Kate Spade, Coach, and Stuart Weitzman – said in a press release that Zeitlin's decision was made "for personal reasons." Zeitlin first took on the role of CEO in September, after serving as chairman since 2014. He has been with Tapestry for a total of 14 years.
A person familiar with the situation said Tapestry's board hired a law firm to investigate the allegations, after a woman came forward with the accusations of misconduct, according to industry reports.
"In the past month, a woman I photographed and had a relationship with more than ten years ago reached out to various media organizations to express her concerns about what had occurred," Zeitlin said in a statement given to The Wall Street Journal.
"I felt compelled to resign today because I do not want to create a distraction for Tapestry, a company I care deeply about."
Zeitlin's exit has been followed by several changes to the company's leadership team, beginning with Tapestry chief financial officer, Joanne Crevoiserat, who was named as interim chief executive officer of the company.
Todd Kahn, president, chief administrative officer, and company secretary will become interim CEO and brand president of Coach, and Andrea Shaw Resnick, global head of investor relations and corporate communications will take on the role of Tapestry's interim CFO.
Susan Kropf, Tapestry’s lead independent director will now serve as chair of the board of directors.
"[Zeitlin] has made meaningful contributions to Tapestry over the past 14 years, first as a director, and then as chairman, and most recently as CEO," Kropf said.
"During his tenure as CEO, he played a key role in driving the development of Tapestry’s strategic growth agenda. Importantly, he led with purpose during these unprecedented times. We thank him for all he has done for the company and remain committed to continuing this important work.”
Tapestry said it is now searching for a permanent CEO, both internally and externally.
The major shakeup comes as Tapestry, already struggling prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, works to make a rebound in the aftermath. In May, the company reported a near 20% fall in quarterly sales, after about 90% of its stores were either closed or operating on shortened hours during its third quarter.
Tapestry shares are down over 50% this year.