An Urban Outfitters store in Philadelphia. (George Widman / Associated…)
Urban Outfitters Inc. said that Glen T. Senk, its chief executive, has resigned and will be succeeded by co-founder and Chairman Richard Hayne.
Shares of the retail company, which operates the Anthropologie, Free People, BHLDN and Urban Outfitters brands, fell as much as 17% to $24.24 in midday trading Wednesday.
Senk, 55, joined the company nearly 18 years ago as president of Anthropologie. He became a director in 2004 and chief executive in 2007. He will be leaving to "pursue another opportunity," but will remain with the company temporarily to assist in the transition, the company said in a statement.
His replacement as CEO, Hayne, 64, co-founded Urban Outfitters in 1970 and has served as chairman and president since 1976, the statement said.
"Mr. Hayne has been instrumental in the company's historical success and we are extremely fortunate to have an executive of Dick's caliber in place," the statement said.
Urban Outfitters has suffered from four quarters of sales declines, a problem the company has blamed on tough competition and poor fashion choices that forced markdowns to clear inventory.
A spate of bad publicity has also added to the company's woes. Last year, a jewelry designer accused the retailer of stealing her designs, prompting shoppers to try starting a boycott. Later, the Navajo Nation demanded that Urban Outfitters remove the word "Navajo" from descriptions of its products online (the Navajo Nation holds trademarks on the word).