The board of directors of dress clothing retailer The Men's Wearhouse has enlisted the help of Willkie Farr & Gallagher in connection with the company's termination of founder, chairman, and television pitchman George Zimmer.
The company's board announced Zimmer's ouster Wednesday while also postponing the company's annual shareholder meeting, which was scheduled to take place that same day. In a statement the board said the meeting would be postponed in order "to renominate the existing slate of directors without Mr. Zimmer." The board said it also plans to negotiate the terms of Zimmer's future relationship, if any, with the company he founded in Houston in 1973.
New York–based partner Steven Seidman, cochair of Willkie's corporate and financial services department, is leading the team from the firm that is advising the Men's Wearhouse board in connection with Zimmer's termination. A Willkie spokesman told The Am Law Daily that Seidman was unavailable to comment.
Willkie litigation partners Deirdre Hykal and Tariq Mundiya are also working on the matter, along with compensation and benefits partner Jordan Messinger and communications and media partner Jeffrey Hochman. The Willkie associates working on the matter are Laura Acker, Danielle Scalzo, and David Stoltzfus.
Though the Men's Wearhouse board has not indicated the reason for Zimmer's dismissal, the ousted executive released a statement Wednesday in which he claimed he had been pushed out because he did not see eye-to-eye with the board. "Over the past several months I have expressed my concerns to the board about the direction the company is currently heading," Zimmer said in the statement. "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."
A spokeswoman for Zimmer did not respond to The Am Law Daily's request for comment on whether he has hired outside counsel to represent him in connection with his termination.
Zimmer added in his statement that he has "built The Men's Wearhouse into a multibillion-dollar company" over the past four decades. The retailer— which sells a range of men's suits, coats, and accessories—operates 1,143 retail stores and employs more than 15,000 people.
Since founding the company, Zimmer has not only run Men's Wearhouse, but he has been its (bearded) public face. For many, the store's name is synonymous with his gravelly baritone intoning his signature catchphrase: "You're gonna like the way you look. I guarantee it."
Meanwhile, CNNMoney reports that Zimmer's dismissal is not sitting well with some Men's Wearhouse customers, many of whom have taken to the company's Facebook page to voice their displeasure. On Thursday, Men's Wearhouse stock was down roughly 3 percent from its Tuesday closing price.