Art Ortenberg, founder and vice chairman of Liz Claiborne, has died at age 87. On Friday, we reported that his partner, Cathy Horyn was leaving The New York Times due to Ortenberg’s ill health, which makes his passing all the more tragic.
The fashion tycoon founded the sportswear company with his wife, Liz Claiborne, in 1976. He retired 13 years later, while the business was generating $110.3 million in net profits. Since then, he focused on being a wildlife conservation philanthropist.
Since WWD broke the news of his death, there has been an outpouring of condolences from the fashion industry on Twitter.
Art Ortenberg was a massively important yet fairly silent part of the industry, a huge loss.
— John Jannuzzi (@johnjannuzzi) February 4, 2014
Sad to hear that Art Ortenberg has died. He was a great friend to #cfda establishing our Liz Claiborne Scholarship.
— steven kolb (@stevenkolb) February 4, 2014
While sadness looms, we can’t help but wonder what this means for Horyn and her future at the Times.