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Veteran Ralph Lauren exec Howard Smith to resign after ethics probe

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People walk by Ralph Lauren’s Fifth Avenue Polo store in New York City.
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Ralph Lauren said Wednesday that its executive vice president and chief commercial officer, Howard Smith, will resign immediately after the retailer learned of allegations regarding his personal conduct.

Upon learning of the allegations, the audit committee of the board of directors launched an independent investigation with the assistance of outside counsel, Ralph Lauren said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The investigation revealed conduct that violated Ralph Lauren’s code of business conduct and ethics and other policies, it said.

Smith did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ralph Lauren said that regional leaders who already oversee the day-to-day business will report on an interim basis directly to CEO and President Patrice Louvet.

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