For Abercrombie CEO, jet setting no brief affair

Oct. 23, 2012 | by Lisa Biank Fasig

At a cost of $200,000 a year, you'd think the cabin crew of Abercrombie & Fitch’s corporate jet could at least get to wear regular shoes.

But no, flip-flops only. Even when the temperature falls below 50 degrees and they are forced to wear jackets over their low-slung jeans, (jacket collars up, of course), and the attendants must sport flip-flops. Even their underwear is predetermined.

These requirements, for those of you who have not read the headlines, are among the more than 40 pages of rules foisted upon the models/flight attendants who serve Michael Jeffries, the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, when upon the company's Gulfstream jet.

The rules came to light after a 55-year-old pilot filed suit in 2010 claiming he was fired by the 68-year-old Jeffries because of his age. Bloomberg News first uncovered the suit and the details — including the "Aircraft Standards" — have been leaking out since.

According to, the clean-shaven (required) attendants wear a uniform of jeans worn at the hip, Abercrombie polo shirts and flip-flops. Male flight attendants also are required to wear boxer briefs.

Knowing that most executives do not own their corporate jet, I looked into the value assigned to Jeffries' personal use of the Gulfstream. That would be $200,000, according to the company's proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That cost includes pilot and flight attendant fees and on-board catering.

But that $200,000 is a harshly negotiated figure. According to Bloomberg, Abercrombie's board in 2010 agreed to pay Jeffries a lump sum of $4 million in return for limiting his previously unlimited personal use of the corporate jet. Now, if he uses it to the tune of more than $200,000, he must reimburse the company.

That should not be a hardship. Jeffries' total pay in 2011 was $3.4 million. But in 2012, sales at the chain are slipping as its teen audience flocks to retail rivals. Shares in the company have lost more than half of their value in the past 12 months.

On the Abercrombie & Fitch corporate jet, models are mandated to wear a "spritz" of cologne and white or black gloves (depending on their task). The CEO may appreciate these details, but they apparently do not sell boxers.

Topics: Retail - Apparel

Lisa Biank Fasig / Lisa leads the creation of editorials and feature stories for COLLOQUY and oversees the work of contributing editors and writers. With 18 years of reporting experience, most in business and specifically consumer behavior, she is highly skilled at researching data and teasing out the trends. A background in graphic design enables her to see ideas in three dimensions and tell the story visually.
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