TODAY

TODAY   |  June 20, 2013

Men’s Wearhouse CEO fired by board of directors

In a move that has shocked the business world, George Zimmer, who founded Men’s Wearhouse and has been the retailer’s face and voice for decades, has been ousted after a vote by his board of directors. Neither side has explained the decision. NBC’s Mike Taibbi reports.

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>>> not know his name but you probably know his face and his famous guarantee. this morning, the man who started men's warehouse, one of the largest clothing retailers in the country is out of his job, fired byown board of directors . why? here's nbc's mike taibbi .

>> reporter: if you've watched television over the past 27 years, you have seen and heard the famous tag line .

>> you're gonna lining the way you look. i guarantee it.

>> reporter: but george zimmer wasn't just a tv pitchman, he started the company four decades ago with 7,000 in cash, a van for a store around a cigar box for a cash register . a self-described hippie who dressed well, his ragman-to-riches story was one he loved to tell.

>> i want to talk this evening about trust and trust in business.

>> reporter: but that ended this week when his board of directors voted to fire the company's founder. neither side has said why exactly. zimmer saying in a statement that he had raised concerns about the company's direction but that the board inappropriately chose to silence my concerns through termination. it's not that the company's doing badly. they are up to about 1200 stores in the u.s. and canada and adding stores. first quarter profits were up 23% over last year when annual sales approached $2.5 billion. there's been speculation that zimmer wanted back in on the day-to-day strategic control that he had surrender years ago but that his image and thinking had slipped behind the curve.

>> let's face it, it's getting older. perhaps he doesn't appeal to that millennial customer anymore around that's the customer that everybody really wants to go after.

>> reporter: this was no shakespearean drama, no family betrayal, corporate types fired him. seemed to be what michael corleone said of his enter prize when it faced generational changes.

>> it's strictly business .

>> reporter: a business decision so final for the men's warehouse founder that the board said it expects to discuss with mr. zimmer the extent, if knicks of his ongoing relationship with the company. that famous tag line may have worked for decades.

>> i guarantee it. i guarantee it. i guarantee t.

>> reporter: but tomorrow is guaranteed to no one. more today, mike taibbi , nbc news, los angeles . see if he is still paid as a pitchman, i guess.

>> is catchy. i will not forget that i hope they still use him, at least.