Feb 15, 2022
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Levi's global brand president exits

Feb 15, 2022

American jean maker Levi Strauss & Co. brand president Jennifer Sey has resigned from her post—the executive claiming she was forced out of the company after she voiced her opinion that schools should remain open during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jennifer Sey - Courtesy

In an essay published on writer Bari Weiss’s Substack, Sey, who has spent some 23 years at the company and most recently serving as global brand president since 2020—said the company’s CEO, Chip Bergh, offered her a $1 million severance package in exchange for her signature on a nondisclosure agreement. However, Sey declined to stay quiet about the reasons for her dismissal, saying she couldn't do it, according to the essay.

"In the last month, the CEO told me that it was “untenable” for me to stay. I was offered a $1 million severance package, but I knew I’d have to sign a nondisclosure agreement about why I’d been pushed out," wrote Sey.

"The money would be very nice. But I just can’t do it. Sorry, Levi’s."

Since 2020, when the pandemic began, Sey has vocally opposed the U.S. public schools’ closure mandate, writing op-eds, appearing on local news shows and organizing rallies in support of keeping schools open.

With her views going public, Sey alleges that the company’s head of corporate communications, its legal and HR departments and Bergh warned her that she was a reflection of the company and that she should “think about” what she was saying, according to the reports.

Levi's has not issued a statement on Sey's claims and subsequent exit. However, the company did acknowledge her resignation, stating that her responsibilities would be fulfilled by Seth Ellison, the company’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer, on an interim basis.

“Levi Strauss & Co. has initiated a search for a new Levi’s brand president, an opportunity to lead one of the world’s best known and most respected consumer brands," said ​Levi Strauss & Co.’s director of business and financial communications Ancel Martínez.

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