Men’s Wearhouse Kicks Founder And Pitchman To The Curb

George Zimmer wasn’t just the Men’s Wearhouse founder and executive chairman — he was its pitchman. And he was icily fired this morning.

Zimmer (center) receives an honorary doctorate in humane letters from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in San Francisco on June 7. Thomas J. Gibbons / Getty Images

George Zimmer founded Men’s Warehouse in Houston in 1973 and now, 40 years later, he has left the company under mysterious circumstances.

In a press release, the California-based menswear retailer sent out this morning, the company said that it had “terminated George Zimmer from his position as Executive Chairman.” Zimmer took the company public in 1992 and oversaw its expansion to the over 1,100-store retail behemoth it is today. In June 2011, Douglas S. Ewert succeeded Zimmer when he stepped down as CEO. Zimmer remained handsomely compensated — he pulled down between $1.7 and $2 million in total compensation from 2010–2012.

Zimmer was, of course, most famous as the company’s chief pitchman, delivering his signature line, “You’re going to like the way you look. I guarantee it,” in ads since 1997. He had been saying “I guarantee it” in ads since well before then.

You can read the press release announcing Zimmer’s departure from Men’s Wearhouse below:

Men’s Wearhouse Announces George Zimmer Leaving Company

Annual Meeting Postponed

FREMONT, Calif., June 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The Board of Directors of Men’s Wearhouse (NYSE: MW) today announced that it has terminated George Zimmer from his position as Executive Chairman. The Board expects to discuss with Mr. Zimmer the extent, if any, and terms of his ongoing relationship with the Company.

In light of Mr. Zimmer’s termination, the Company also announced that it is postponing its Annual Meeting of Shareholders, which had originally been scheduled for June 19, 2013, at 11:00 a.m. Pacific daylight time. The purpose of the postponement is to re-nominate the existing slate of directors without Mr. Zimmer.

The Company expects to announce the rescheduled date, time and location of the postponed Annual Meeting shortly. The Company will set a new record date, provide additional information with respect to the Annual Meeting in a supplement to its proxy statement to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and commence a new solicitation with respect to the supplemented proxy materials. Shareholders are urged to read the supplement in its entirety, as it will contain important information about the Annual Meeting.

Update - 2:40 p.m.: George Zimmer has issued a statement: “Over the last 40 years, I have built The Men’s Wearhouse into a multi-billion dollar company with amazing employees and loyal customers who value the products and service they receive at The Men’s Wearhouse. 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 by terminating me as an executive officer.”

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