Ralph Lauren CEO Stefan Larsson stepping down

NEW YORK — Stefan Larsson, the CEO of Ralph Lauren for less than two years, is leaving, the company announced.

Larsson took over as CEO in September 2015 -- the first outside chief executive the company has had. Lauren, who founded his namesake firm in 1967, stayed on as executive chairman and chief creative officer. 

Lauren, who said at the time that Larsson “understands what dreams are,” said that Larsson pushed the company in the right direction. The two apparently split, however, on how best to turn around the brand. 

“Stefan and I share a love and respect for the DNA of this great brand, and we both recognize the need to evolve,”Lauren said in a statement. “However, we have found that we have different views on how to evolve the creative and consumer-facing parts of the business.” He added the decision to part ways was mutual.

Larsson was formerly the global president of Old Navy, where he remade the business to be a bright spot in Gap’s portfolio. Previously, Larsson was part of an executive team at Swedish cheap chic fashion chain H&M for 15 years that increased annual revenue from $3 billion to $17 billion.

He will remain with Ralph Lauren until May. He will receive a $10 million cash severance package and health benefits for two years, Bloomberg reported

Company shares fell $9.40, or nearly 11 percent, to $77.85 in morning trade. Shares have fallen more than 20 percent in the past year.

The search for a new chief executive is underway.