Ralph Lauren steps down as CEO of fashion empire

Designer Ralph Lauren is stepping down as chief executive of the fashion empire he founded nearly 50 years ago.

He will hand over the role to Gap's Old Navy chain global president, Stefan Larsson in November.

Larsson will report to Lauren who will continue to drive the company's vision and strategy as executive chairman and chief creative officer, the New York-based company said.

Lauren, 75, said that he is not slowing down but sees Larsson, 41, as a partner as the company spearheads future sales growth saying he will be "an interesting addition".

As global president of Old Navy for three years, Mr Larsson remade the business into a bright spot in Gap's portfolio.

Previously, he was part of an executive team at Swedish fashion chain H&M for 15 years that grew its operations to 44 countries from 12.

"What attracted me to take on this role was Ralph himself and his vision," Larsson said. "So my job is to work side by side with Ralph, refine it and grow the company into the future."

Lauren, who started the company 48 years ago selling ties, has built a vast empire that includes women's, men's and children's clothing, home decor, accessories and now restaurants.

But after years of surging growth, the company has seen its revenue slow down, with overall shares falling by 44% so far this year.