U.S. denim brand Levi Strauss announced Chip Bergh will retire from his role as chief executive officer, effective April 26, 2024. He will be succeeded by current company president, Michelle Gass, effective January 29.
In addition, Levi’s board has elected Bergh as executive vice chair until his retirement date, before transitioning to the role of senior advisor until the end of the company’s 2024 fiscal year.
Bergh has been credited for transforming the Levi’s brand into a global, DTC-driven business for both men and women, by revitalising and repositioning it through strategic initiatives like claiming the naming rights for Levi Stadium and deepening the brand’s connection to the music industry.
During Bergh’s tenure, Levi Strauss also returned to the public markets with an IPO in March 2019 and expanded the company’s brand portfolio with the acquisition of Beyond Yoga in 2021.
“We would like to thank Chip for his inspirational leadership and unwavering commitment to the company over the last 12-plus years,” said Bob Eckert, chairman of the Levi Strauss board of directors.
“Chip has transformed this company and will leave it far better than when he arrived. I know we will continue to benefit from Chip’s strategic perspective as he continues to serve on the company’s board.”
Gass joined Levi Strauss in January this year. As president, she has been responsible for leading the Levi’s brand, including its product, merchandising and marketing functions, as well as the company’s digital and global commercial operations, while working closely with Bergh.
“I am honored to be stepping in to lead this iconic brand and company, one that I have deeply admired and respected for many years. Levi’s is more than a denim icon; it’s part of our cultural fabric and an enduring symbol of quality, innovation and progress,” Gass said.
“In the past year, Chip and I have traveled the globe, and I’ve had the privilege of meeting many members of the Levi Strauss. team. Those interactions have only underscored my confidence in the incredible potential of our business, the strength of our brands and the power of the company’s values-driven, profits-through-principles approach. I am incredibly excited to lead our amazing team and to realize our ambition of becoming a world-class direct-to-consumer retailer. As we build on our 170-year legacy, I’m more confident than ever that we have the right team and strategies in place to unleash the next era of sustainable, profitable growth for Levi Strauss.”