Iconix CEO John Haugh leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After about two years in the position
  • Thanks and good wishes for Haugh
  • Peter Cuneo taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor

(exechange) — New York, June 15, 2018 — John Haugh, chief executive of Iconix, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Iconix Brand Group, Inc. in a news release on Friday, June 15, 2018, John N. Haugh leaves his post as Chief Executive Officer at the apparel company after about two years in the role, effective immediately.

No company wants a CEO to flame out in the first years.

Among the 3,000 largest publicly held companies incorporated in the U.S. based on market capitalization, the average tenure of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months was 9.5 years, according to data compiled by exechange. Only 21 percent of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months left the position within three years.

Iconix will undertake a search for a successor.

Haugh’s duties will be taken over in the interim by Peter Cuneo, most recently Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of Iconix Brand Group, Inc.

“To pursue other opportunities”

Haugh’s sudden departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Iconix said: “John Haugh has resigned as Chief Executive Officer, President and a member of the Board to pursue other opportunities, also effective immediately.”

The phrase “to pursue other opportunities” opens the door to speculation.

Precise information about Haugh’s future plans was not immediately available.

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of Iconix Brand Group, Inc. since June 2014.

In the position of CEO since 2016

John N. Haugh was appointed President of Iconix Brand Group, effective February 23, 2016 and became Chief Executive Officer & President of Iconix on April 1, 2016.

Haugh is a proven executive with more than 30 years of experience leading premier global brands and retail businesses.

Prior to joining Iconix, he was President of Sun, Luxury and Retail Services for Luxottica Retail, N.A. In this role he led more than 14,000 Sunglass Hut associates; managed the Luxottica and Macy’s, Inc. license operations business; directed the luxury optical business; and managed real estate, design and construction for Luxottica Retail, N.A.

Prior to joining Luxottica in 2011, Haugh was President of Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.

Before joining Build-A-Bear, he served as President of the Mars Retail Group for Mars, Inc.

Haugh previously held senior marketing, strategy and sales leadership roles with Payless ShoeSource, Inc., Universal Studios, Inc. and General Mills, Inc.

Haugh serves on the Board of Trustees for the International Council of Shopping Centers, and formerly served on the Board of Directors of Aeropostale, Inc.

He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MBA from the International Institute of Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland.


Generally speaking, when a top leader announces to step down with no permanent successor in place, it is a sign that the change was unplanned and too early.

Generally speaking, potential causes for an unexpected change may be, among others, disagreement or dispute.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered John Haugh’s sudden move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the change.

Read the full story in the exechange report 25.2018 ($).