The company’s shareholders, according to the Huffington Post, have terminated George Zimmer, the founder and CEO of Men’s Wearhouse. Zimmer is synonymous with Men’s Wearhouse and serves as the spokesperson in its national television commercials. The termination comes as a surprise to many. Zimmer built Men’s Wearhouse from a tiny shop in Texas where he used a cigar box as his first cash register into a national brand with 1,143 stores that generated $2.48 billion in revenue in 2012.
“This is very rare to fire a founder,” says Eleanor Bloxham, CEO of The Value Alliance, a board advisory firm. “Founders are generally entrenched in the company.”
Zimmer willingly handed his CEO position over to Douglas Ewert in 2011. Men’s Wearhouse announced the termination of Zimmer only one week after it posted a 23 percent profit increase for the first financial quarter of 2013, which leaves many scratching their head at the shareholders’ decision. Zimmer is an outspoken advocate for the legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational use in the United States.
“Over the last 40 years, I have built [Men’s Wearhouse] into a multi-billion dollar company with amazing employees and loyal customers who value the products and service they receive at [Men’s Wearhouse],” Zimmer told reporters from CNBC. “Over the past several months I have expressed my concerns to the Board about the direction the company is currently heading. Instead of fostering the kind of dialogue in the Boardroom that has in part contributed to our success, the Board has inappropriately chosen to silence my concerns through termination as an executive officer.”
Tip of the week: If you are terminated, consult with an attorney before discussing the matter in depth with HR, your boss or any coworkers.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles wrongful termination attorneys