SLIDESHOW: Bizarre Habits of 9 Highly Obsessive CEOs
Michael Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch
It’s perfectly reasonable for a company manual that outlines the policies and procedures of the entire organization to run several dozen pages. A bit over-the-top, however, is a 47-page rule book by which employees assigned to the corporate jet must abide. The “Aircraft Standards” set by Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) CEO Michael Jeffries for his Gulfstream G550 are not only oddly obsessive, but some actually border on fetishistic.
Exposed in the wake of an age-discrimination lawsuit filled last month by the plane’s former pilot, the Abercrombie enchiridion mandates that attendants (often male models) abide by a strict dress code of Abercrombie polo shirts, jeans, boxer briefs, flip-flops, and the brand’s cologne, spritzed periodically during the flight. Unless the temperature dips below 50 degrees, outerwear is prohibited. But don’t think Jeffries’ staff is ever off the hook from having to bare a little hairless chest. Though jackets are permitted, they are to to be fastened at the “fourth button from the bottom,” with the last button left open.
Only when it comes to staffers’ hands does Jeffries insist on formal dress. White gloves must be worn when setting tables for meals -- with the exception of the flatware, which is to be handled with black gloves.
And, lest you think Abercrombie & Fitch shareholders don’t have a stable of unstable on their hands, consider that Phil Collins’ “Take Me Home” is the required soundtrack during boarding on all return flights, a five-point procedure is laid out for the seating of Jeffries’ dogs, and one -- and only one -- response may be uttered by a crew member when responding to a request made by him or his partner, Matthew Smith: “No problem.”
With the company’s stock losing half its value over the past year, the board may want to re-rethink his annual $200,000 personal flying budget, which had already been trimmed from $4 million. For a cost-cutting compromise, how about downsizing to just one pair of gloves... in gray?