Fashion giant Tommy Hilfiger Corp on Tuesday named its CEO Joel Horowitz to the role of chairman after designer Tommy Hilfiger stepped down.

The Hong Kong-based firm said in a statement Mr Horowitz would remain CEO and president and it is continuing the hunt for a successor as Horowitz' CEO contract is set to expire in March 2004.

It added Mr Hilfiger will resume his long-time role as honorary chairman and principal designer of Tommy Hilfiger Corp in order to concentrate solely on his creative strengths.

"Since becoming chairman last October, I've been working with the board to analyse a variety of long-term strategic and management issues," Mr Hilfiger said.

"As part of that process, we considered the most effective way to continue the successful long-term partnership between Joel Horowitz and myself. I came to realise the company would be better served by each of us focusing on the work that best plays to our strengths and passions".

"For me, that means concentrating on the creative aspects of an apparel business - design and marketing."

The company also named David Tang, the founder of Shanghai Tang stores, as an independent director, replacing Simon Murray, who quit to focus on other business interests.