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H&M CEO quits, cities “demanding role, personally” as reason

In a surprising turn of events, H&M, the renowned Scandinavian clothing giant, announced on Wednesday the abrupt departure of CEO Helena Helmersson, citing the company’s ongoing struggle to keep pace with rivals such as Inditex and Shein. The announcement sent shockwaves through the market, leading to an 8% drop in H&M’s shares on the Stockholm stock exchange.

Helmersson, who had served as CEO for four years, expressed that the role had been “very demanding at times for me personally,” indicating a challenging tenure. The decision to step down coincided with the revelation that sales for December and January had dipped by 4% compared to the previous year, signaling a concerning performance during the crucial Christmas shopping period.

Taking the helm as the new CEO is company veteran Daniel Ervér, who has been with H&M for 18 years, most recently heading the core H&M brand. Ervér, 42, revealed that he had expressed interest in the role in December, and the board swiftly approved the change on Wednesday morning.

On January 31, 2024, the board of directors of H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB appointed Daniel Ervér as the new President and CEO of the H&M group. Ervér, born in 1981, has an extensive 18-year history within the H&M group, working in various roles and leading the H&M brand for the past four years. The board expressed gratitude to Helena Helmersson for her contributions and announced that Daniel Ervér would continue to be operationally responsible for H&M.

“The board of directors would like to express a big thank you to Helena for her valuable contributions during a very intense time. Helena is an appreciated leader that has decisively and effectively led and navigated the H&M group through a time largely marked by pandemic, geopolitical and macro-economic challenges,” said Karl-Johan Persson, Chair of the H&M group.

“I am both honored and very happy for the board’s confidence and motivated and humbled by the task,” said Daniel Ervér. “Our focus will be on offering our customers the best combination of fashion, quality, price, and sustainability in an inspiring and attractive shopping environment.”

Helena Helmersson, having worked for 26 years within the H&M group, expressed mixed feelings about leaving the CEO role. She emphasized her pride in the company’s achievements and navigating through challenges. Helena will ensure a smooth handover as she reflects on her next step.

H&M’s shares were down 8% at 154 Swedish kronor by 0840 GMT, marking a significant contrast to the approximately 29% gain over the past 12 months.

H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB (publ) was founded in Sweden in 1947 and is quoted on Nasdaq Stockholm. H&M’s business idea is to offer fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way. In addition to H&M, the group includes the brands COS, Monki, Weekday, & Other Stories, H&M HOME, ARKET and Afound as well as Sellpy.

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