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Levi Strauss President To Retire

January 11, 1999

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Peter Jacobi, president and chief operating officer of Levi Strauss & Co., announced his retirement today, saying it was time for him to step aside as the company struggles to recapture the youth market.

Levi Strauss will search outside the company for his successor, spokesman Gavin Power said. ``It’s an effort to bring in fresh talent from the outside to blend with the experience here,″ he said.

Jacobi joined Levi Strauss in 1970 as a production assistant before working his way up to president in 1996.

In 1997, Levi’s sales fell to $6.9 billion in 1997, down from $7.1 billion in 1996 as teens began shunning its classic five-pocket blue jeans for baggier styles by rival apparel makers.

Last year, the company began limiting the output of its classic blue jeans and launched new marketing and advertising campaigns with one main goal: convincing 15- to 24-year-olds that Levi’s are cool.

``I believe that the time is right to bring in new leadership that can challenge past practices, long-held views and historic ways of thinking and working,″ Jacobi said in a statement.

Forty percent of Levi’s newest hires have been outside the company, Power said.

Levi’s was founded in 1873 by a Bavarian entrepreneur who designed the riveted work jeans for Gold Rush miners.

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