One of America’s Most Storied Fashion Brands Just Got Its First-Ever Female CEO

As Calvin Klein continues to undergo dramatic changes, the brand has appointed a female CEO for the first time in its storied history.

Cheryl Abel-Hodges — who had served as group president, Calvin Klein North America and the Underwear Group — assumed the top spot, reporting to Stefan Larsson, president of parent-company PVH Corp. 

The executive, who previously led the brand’s wholesale and retail businesses in the U.S., replaces Steve Shiffman, who is leaving the company.

Abel-Hodges is being elevated at a time when the creative and business sides of the brand are both in transition. In December, chief creative officer Raf Simons left the brand abruptly, and Calvin Klein has since halted production of the Collections business. The label also closed its Madison Avenue flagship.

“I have great confidence that Cheryl is the right person to lead the Calvin Klein brand. Her strong management abilities, together with her consistent track record for operational excellence, will provide strong direction for the Calvin Klein team,” said Emanuel Chirico, Chairman and CEO of PVH Corp in a statement. “I believe this leadership change, coupled with our incredible management teams around the world, will allow us to capture the brand’s long-term growth potential.”

In an interview with WWD, Chirico said the main reason he selected Abel-Hodges is that she’s done “an amazing job” since CKI acquired Warnaco in 2012 and appointed her head of the Underwear division. “She’s had a real focus on working with our teams globally and really bringing everything together. One of the challenges when you’re running a global brand is how do you bring all the teams together and how do you align Europe and Asia, and her ability to do that has been fantastic,” said Chirico.

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