Jide Zeitlin, the chief government of Tapestry and one among solely 4 Black chief executives within the Fortune 500, resigned on Tuesday and later stated the sudden transfer, lower than a yr into his tenure, was associated to a previous relationship. The firm’s board had been made conscious of a misconduct allegation involving Mr. Zeitlin and employed a legislation agency to research, in keeping with an individual conversant in the scenario who spoke on the situation of anonymity.
After Tapestry, which owns the Coach and Kate Spade trend manufacturers, introduced that Mr. Zeitlin was stepping down for “personal reasons,” he launched a press release saying the exit was tied to a previous relationship with a lady. In a letter posted to LinkedIn on Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Zeitlin elaborated, saying the connection began and ended 13 years in the past and had nothing to do along with his position at Tapestry.
“I did not use power, wealth or position to further that relationship,” he stated. He stated it was a mistake in his private life that he had handled on the time.
In the LinkedIn publish, Mr. Zeitlin stated the connection was “with a woman I had met while pursuing my interest in photography.” Mr. Zeitlin, who spent twenty years at Goldman Sachs, stated he typically used a pseudonym primarily based on his center title, James, when photographing strangers as a way to shield his privateness as he rose “through the ranks as a rare Black banker.”
The government claimed that the connection had just lately turn into a difficulty as a result of William D. Cohan, a journalist who has written for publications together with Vanity Fair and The New York Times, was asking questions on it whereas engaged on an article about Mr. Zeitlin. Mr. Cohan acknowledged in a press release that he had been engaged on a narrative about Mr. Zeitlin and Tapestry with ProPublica.
“I reached the conclusion this past weekend that this distraction will not allow me to meet my responsibilities as C.E.O.,” Mr. Zeitlin wrote.
Tapestry employed the legislation agency Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson to research Mr. Zeitlin’s conduct, the particular person conversant in the matter stated.
Tapestry, which relies in New York, stated that Joanne Crevoiserat, its chief monetary officer, would function interim chief government and that it had began a seek for a everlasting substitute. In March, Tapestry had stated Mr. Zeitlin would stay on the helm for at the least three extra years.
Mr. Zeitlin’s departure comes because the retail trade grapples with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Tapestry, like different retailers, has been compelled to shut shops and regulate operations in China and the United States because the virus continues to unfold.
The firm, which additionally owns Stuart Weitzman, is a huge with about $6 billion in annual gross sales, however its shares have dropped by roughly 50 % this yr. It subsequent experiences earnings on Aug. 13.
Mr. Zeitlin, who’s married, grew to become the Tapestry chief in September; he had been the corporate’s chairman since 2014 and was a board member earlier than that. As a part of his exit, he additionally resigned from the board.
Mr. Zeitlin was beforehand a personal investor overseeing the Keffi Group, an funding workplace.
Born in Nigeria and adopted by an American household as a baby, he attracted reward and a focus final month for a workers letter, later published on LinkedIn, about civil rights and the Black Lives Matter movement. He went on to discuss the protests and the importance of antiracism and diversity in corporate America on shows like “Good Morning America” and “Face the Nation.”
In its announcement on Tuesday, Tapestry praised Mr. Zeitlin for his leadership, including his work during “these unprecedented times” and his “key role in driving the development of Tapestry’s strategic growth agenda.”