You might still see George Zimmer guarantee that you'll like the way you look wearing suits from Men's Wearhouse, even though he's locked in a nasty battle with management that led to his firing.
The company's proxy statement says Men's Wearhouse retains the right to use Zimmer in ads and marketing for at least four years. And it is obligated to pay the founder and former chairman $1 million for those rights over the next four years, whether or not they use him in the spots.
Zimmer was paid only $10,000 a year to appear in the commercials while he was with the company.
Company spokesmen were not available for comment Thursday on their marketing plans going forward. In a separate filing, the company previously said it would be hurt if it were not able to use Zimmer in its ads.
"George Zimmer has been very important to the success of the company and is the primary advertising spokesman," it wrote in its most recent 10K statement. "Although we believe we have a strong management team with relevant industry expertise, the extended loss of the services of Mr. Zimmer...(could) materially harm our business."
Hundreds of Men's Wearhouse customers have posted protests over Zimmer's firing on the Men's Wearhouse Facebook page.
Zimmer, with his distinctive gravelly voice, appears at the end of every Men's Wearhouse ad, promising customers that they will like they way they look wearing the store's clothes, "I guarantee it."
Paul Kranhold, a spokesman for Zimmer, said he has not been told of the company's marketing plans going forward but acknowledged the agreement that could let him continue to appear in the ads.
"They have hundreds of hours of footage of him," he said. "He's the voice and face of the brand."
Men's Wearhouse fired Zimmer last week. This week, it came out with a statement saying Zimmer was dismissed because he pushed for a sale of the company to private investors that the board thought was too risky.
The company also suggested that he had become power hungry and unwilling to accept that he was no longer CEO, and wouldn't support CEO Douglas Ewert unless he gave into Zimmer's demands.
Zimmer fired back that management is eroding the principles and values that led to the company's success and was "more concerned with protecting their entrenched views and positions" than with the company's best interests.
Zimmer also may have $2.7 million in severance payments coming to him, in addition to the $250,000 a year he's due for the advertising rights, according to the proxy filing. The filing says that's the amount due if he is terminated by the company for any reason other than cause.
Kranhold said the company is not claiming he's been terminated for cause, which is spelled out in the proxy as some willful misconduct such as embezzlement, fraud or other criminal activity.
Zimmer received total compensation of just under $2 million in the fiscal year that ended in February in his role as executive chairman, nearly as much as the $2.1 million received by Ewert.