Abercrombie CEO Michael Jeffries’ Mile High Rules
Abercrombie and Fitch’s Chief Executive Officer Michael Jeffries knows what he wants when he flies in the company’s Gulfstream G550 jet.
According to a report in Bloomberg News, "Clean-shaven males had to wear a uniform of Abercrombie polo shirts, boxer briefs, flip-flops and a ’spritz’ of the retailer’s cologne, according to an "Aircraft Standards" manual, disclosed in an age-discrimination lawsuit brought by a former pilot. Among the 40-plus pages of detailed instructions: black gloves had to be used when handling silverware and white gloves to lay the table, the song ’Take Me Home’ had to be played when passengers entered the cabin on return flights and Jeffries’ dogs -- identified in the document as Ruby, Trouble and Sammy -- had different seating arrangements based on which ones were traveling."
The document of Jeffries’ rules went public just as the CEO was facing criticism by stockholders of his management style. "Abercrombie’s shares have erased half their value in the past year, and activist investor Ralph Whitworth is pressing for changes, according to a person familiar with the matter," the Bloomberg report continued. "While Jeffries’s penchant for details helped turn Abercrombie into a global brand, the 68-year-old CEO is struggling to reverse falling same-store sales as shoppers grow weary of the fashions and risqué marketing."
The New York Times reported that the document was released as part of an age-discrimination lawsuit brought against the company by a former pilot. "The aircraft manual is part of a lawsuit filed in 2010 by Michael Stephen Bustin, who piloted the company’s corporate jet from February 2008 until he was terminated in December 2009. Mr. Bustin, who is now 55, claims he was let go so that the company could hire younger pilots more in step with its corporate image. Abercrombie denied the allegations in its court filings, saying Mr. Bustin had been employed by a jet aviation company, not Abercrombie."
"According to the manual," the Times report continued, "employees had to look for fingerprints on the cabinet doors of the aircraft lavatory, make sure the bar of Jo Malone soap on the vanity did not slide out of place during takeoff, provide eight tri-folded washcloths, and make sure that toilet paper was not visible and that the end square was not folded."