Saturday, June 22, 2013


If Fernando taught me anything, it was that it is better to look good than to feel good. This is probably very true for George Zimmer, founder and executive chairman of Men's Wearhouse. Make that former executive chairman. The company that George built from one store into one thousand one hundred and forty-three no longer has need of his services. After all these years of telling us "you're going to like the way your look," even guaranteeing it, he's been kicked to the curb. I wonder if the executroids at Men's Wearhouse Incorporated thought about how they might look when they made this decision.
Which brings me, naturally, to the reason for me to comment on this otherwise cruel but mundane moment in capitalism: I once saw George Zimmer. In the flesh. And you know what? He looked good. It was at an Oakland A's game. I was going down the aisle and he was coming up. Nobody else seemed to notice the mild level of celebrity that was passing by. I did. In a sea of T-shirts and shorts, George was rocking a pretty bold ensemble, a pale yellow polo shirt and a pair of casual slacks that still had a sharp crease to them. The lime green sweater he had carelessly draped over his shoulders took your eye away from what was always his fashion Achilles heel: that toupee. Still, he wore it proud and moved through the crowd with a sense of purpose befitting of his station. I know that his seats were much closer to the dugout than mine, but that was okay. Somehow in his sartorial splendor, he deserved it.
He probably didn't deserve to be let go. For his part, George believes he was pushed aside for airing his concerns about the company he built over forty years. "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." The Board has also decided to remove George as the face of the company, the only one it has ever had. The guy who was nominally in charge when profits increased last quarter twenty-three percent. Now that doesn't look too good, I guarantee it.
In the meantime, if Men's Wearhouse is looking for a new spokesperson, can I suggest Fernando?

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