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George Zimmer: Men's Wearhouse Has 'Chosen To Silence My Concerns By Terminating Me'

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George Zimmer, the founder and face of Men's Wearhouse who appeared in many TV commercials touting the slogan "You're going to like the way you look. I guarantee it," was fired from his position as executive chairman, the company announced in a terse press release on Wednesday.

Now, the jilted founder is firing back at the board of directors who spurned him.

"Over the past several months I have expressed my concerns to the Board about the direction the company is currently heading," Zimmer said in a short 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."

Glazer's Distributors CEO Sheldon Stein, who serves on the board at Men's Wearhouse, said that he's thrilled with the direction the retailer is heading and throws his full support behind the current management team.

"All I can say is that as a Board member I am very excited about the future of The Men's Wearhouse," Stein said in an email to The Huffington Post. "I totally support our CEO Doug Ewert and our entire management team."

Men's Wearhouse did not publicly provide a reason for the firing, and the company did not respond to a request for comment. The board plans to discuss with Zimmer the extent, if any, of his future relationship with the company, according to the release.

Zimmer founded the company 40 years ago and has maintained his role as the face of the brand ever since. Based in Fremont, Calif., Men's Wearhouse became one of America's largest specialty men's retailers with 1,143 stores across the country, a count that includes two other brands -- Moores and K&G Stores -- in addition to its namesake chain. Zimmer started appearing in the commercials in 1986.

Over the past few years, Zimmer has reduced his role behind the scenes at Men's Wearhouse. He stepped down as chief executive officer in 2011, naming Ewert as his replacement, and hired Joseph Abboud as fashion director in late 2012.

However, Zimmer had problems relinquishing power, according to Richard Jaffe, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus.

"We believe that despite Zimmer's planned transition to a smaller role at the company, he had difficulty letting go of the reins and the leadership of the business," Jaffe said in a note to clients. "We believe this led to a conflict with the board and his subsequent termination."

Jaffe also wrote that the use of Zimmer as a spokesman for Men's Wearhouse was "under review as management has been evaluating his effectiveness, particularly with the millennial consumer."

Zimmer's individual importance to Men's Wearhouse was among the risk factors the company listed in its annual report filed in April.

"George Zimmer has been very important to the success of the company and is the primary advertising spokesman," the company said in the filing. "Although we believe we have a strong management team with relevant industry expertise, the extended loss of the services of Mr. Zimmer or other key personnel could have a material adverse effect on the securities markets' view of our prospects and materially harm our business."

Despite the abrupt firing, Jaffe echoed Stein's confidence in the management team currently in place at Men's Wearhouse.

"We believe current management has been running the business effectively and will continue to do so," he said in his note.

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