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Petitioning Abercrombie & Fitch Board of Directors

Board of Directors of Abercrombie & Fitch: Terminate the employment of CEO Michael Jeffries

Mr Jeffries recently stated:
"“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either,”

Pronouncements by the CEO of a public company that a significant percentage of the public is unwelcome at that company's facilities only reflect poorly on that company. Saying that "uncool" people or "fat" people are unwelcome is only one small step removed from saying that "black" people or "Jewish" people are unwelcome and reflects biases that a community should not tolerate.

One attribute of a public company CEO is knowing when not to say things that adversely affect the public's perception of that company. Mr. Jeffries' pronouncements suggest he does not have the temperament or wisdom to represent the company and to present its positions with grace and sensitivity.

Consumers and Wall Street judge harshly companies that do not make clear that they are welcoming members of the communities in which they are located. To minimize the damage to Abercrombie & Fitch's reputation and standing as a responsible corporate citizen and to avoid having it become an object of derision, the Board should take immediate measures to remove Mr. Jeffries from his position as CEO and to replace him with someone who can better represent the corporation and reestablish its reputation as a place that welcomes all in the community.

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