By John D. Stoll WSJ Fri., March 22, 2019 Chip Bergh has been dressing up Levi Strauss & Co. for a public offering for years. As chief executive, he’s consolidated supply chains, retooled R&D, and overhauled the executive ranks. The term “profitable growth” is woven through the corporate lexicon as distinctively as the orange stitching on a pair of the company’s 501s. That effort took center stage as Levi shares started changing hands Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. They surged 32% above the opening price, closing the first trading day at $22.41. Mr. Bergh promised to not get carried away. “I’m not going to let my emotions roll up and down depending on where the stock is at any given moment,” he told me as markets closed Thursday. If only investors felt the same way. The blue-jean maker is built for the long term, having done business since 1853. But Wall Street is stubbornly focused on what you’ve done for me lately. Levi listed itself at a time when the business of initial public offerings is booming, providing optimism for people who believe there needs to be more public companies. Several highly valued companies, including Lyft Inc. and… Read full this story
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