A transition period will see Gass begin her role as CEO on 29 January before Bergh officially departs the company on 26 April. Bergh will become executive vice chair of the board until his retirement.
After his retirement Bergh will begin his new role of senior advisor until the end of the company’s 2024 fiscal year.
Bergh has served as president and CEO at Levi since 2011. He previously served as group president at consumer goods conglomerate Procter and Gamble and spent more than five years in the US Army.
Gass has previously served as CEO at US department store chain Kohl’s and was president of EMEA at Starbucks. She also sits on the board of directors at soft drink giant PepsiCo.
Bob Eckert, chairman of Levi’s board of directors, said in a statement: “We would like to thank Chip for his inspirational leadership and unwavering commitment to the company over the last 12-plus years. Chip has transformed this company and will leave it far better than when he arrived. I know we will continue to benefit from Chip’s strategic perspective as he continues to serve on the company’s board.”
Bergh added: “The Levi brand is the strongest it has ever been, and as we pivot to become more of an omni-channel, direct-to-consumer retailer, it is time for new leadership. While I’ve known Michelle for more than a decade, my time working closely with her this past year has given me great confidence that her experience, track record of innovation and impact, and passion for the business will position the company for sustainable, profitable growth and significant shareholder and stakeholder value creation.”
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Gass said: “In the past year, Chip and I have travelled the globe, and I’ve had the privilege of meeting many members of the Levi team. Those interactions have only underscored my confidence in the incredible potential of our business, the strength of our brands and the power of the company’s values-driven, profits-through-principles approach. I am incredibly excited to lead our amazing team and to realise our ambition of becoming a world-class direct-to-consumer retailer. As we build on our 170-year legacy, I’m more confident than ever that we have the right team and strategies in place to unleash the next era of sustainable, profitable growth for Levi.”
In October Levi lowered its fiscal 2023 guidance for the second time due to weak sales, excessive promotions and falling demand within its US wholesale channel.
The company had already lowered its guidance in July, citing tightening consumers budgets in the US.