Designer Tommy Hilfiger is to become chairman of the apparel company bearing his name, replacing Silas Chou who has decided to leave the company on 28 October to "devote time to other business interests."

In a statement Thursday, Tommy Hilfiger Corp said that Hilfiger would remain as principal designer.

The company also announced that chief executive Joel Horowitz plans to step down when his contract ends in March 2004, and that it is launching a search for "an experienced individual with the title of president" who will assume the role of chief executive officer next year. Recruitment firm Herbert Mines Associates has been hired to conduct the search.

Mr Chou and Mr Horowitz were among Tommy Hilfiger Corp's founding investors. Mr Hilfiger said: "Over the past 13 years, Tommy Hilfiger has grown into a successful, global brand, and we owe much to Silas' inspiration, leadership and wise counsel. He has helped create a solid foundation from which we can move forward into the future."

In July, Tommy Hilfiger Corp's co-chairman Lawrence Stroll resigned to pursue other interests.