Gene Detroyer

Professor, European School of Economics
Most simply, Gene Detroyer makes things happen. He has been a business builder his entire career. He started two companies which were later sold. Today he is advising, consulting and motivating a range of clients both in the U.S. and internationally. Unable to stay away from start-ups, he is currently involved in building and launching an innovative experiential executive education program for US-based enterprises entering global markets, the G2 Experience, with support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Commerce.
His traditional experience includes 17 years marketing consumer products through food, mass and drug channels. He is credited with building new businesses now worth over $400 million. A traditional career went out the window with his first start-up; putting TVs in supermarket aisles and putting advertising on them, which was merged into NBC. He has had consulting gigs with Coca Cola, companies like HSN wishing to bring their products to retail and start-ups. His second entrepreneurial venture brought the Today® Contraceptive Sponge back to market in the U.S.  That company was sold in 2007.
Beyond consumer products, he is Professor of Entrepreneurship and Business Strategy at The European School of Economics.  He also teaches at the Weller International Business School in Paris, France.
  • Posted on: 01/17/2017

    What’s stalling the virtual reality consumer market?

    Didn't people say that about televisions in 1948?
  • Posted on: 01/17/2017

    Sir Richard Branson at NRF: Are retailers looking outside the box?

    Yes! It is an attitude and a way of looking at the business. While I don't like the "outside the box" phrase much anymore, it is very appropriate. For retailers to survive, they have to be systems thinkers. What are the connections that they can build? It is not about analytics, it is about synthesis. Look at the way Apple and Amazon have played dominoes to get to where they are today.
  • Posted on: 01/11/2017

    What will more job cuts mean for Walmart?

    This is pruning, it isn't cutting. Big companies bloat over time. They must regularly reassess their personnel needs. GE has a history of doing this and it has not impeded their moving forward in any way. This is not the same as what we have read about with Macy's, et. al. This is good management.
  • Posted on: 01/11/2017

    What does giving up alcohol say about Starbucks?

    I tried to find my comments from the discussion of the initial announcement. I imagine they were something like, people will go to a beer bar for beer and a wine bar for wine. Drinking alcohol has a different ambiance than drinking coffee.That being said, BRAVO to Starbucks for trying. Keep trying fresh and novel ideas. As people change, the companies that serve them must change.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2017

    What will the sale of Craftsman mean for Sears and Stanley Black & Decker?

    Better to sell it now while it has some value, because the value will decline by the day as Sears continues to decline and gets more desperate to sell off assets.Sears should try to sell off every asset they have and use their real estate for something more productive, if not liquidation. There is no future for this retailer.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2017

    What would an American Apparel acquisition do for Amazon or Forever 21?

    Amazon's success has been their customer connection and their infrastructure. They have left the products to others. I don't see them getting in the product business. Separate from that, there is an upside for American Apparel as an independent investment by Jeff Bezos. It is a company that has had some success despite being notoriously poorly managed.All that being said, the real opportunity is for Forever 21.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2017

    Will store closings and layoffs end Macy’s woes?

    I really like "What they are doing is akin to cutting down on meals to save money for food." I am going to use that in my classes!
  • Posted on: 01/05/2017

    Will Millennials lead a resurgence in home cooking?

    So I asked my wife, a dietitian in private practice, this question. She didn't read the article but could have written it.
    1. They are more interested in healthy foods;
    2. They have much broader tastes for different dishes;
    3. They are environmentally oriented;
    4. They believe big food companies sell poison;
    5. They enjoy the accomplishment of preparing the meal.
    And they were more likely to learn cooking from their grandmothers than their mothers. They say their mothers don't know how to cook.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2017

    Will store closings and layoffs end Macy’s woes?

    Macy's problem is the department store business model. It is outdated and unpopular.So this year they will close about 10 percent of their stores and let go 10,000 people and save $550 million. Then what do they do next year when again business is down? Close 10 percent more stores? Lay off another 10,000 people? Save another $500 million? And the next year and the next?A company cannot save its way to success if the problem is on the revenue side. Eventually, there are no more stores to close, no more people to lay off and no more costs to cut from the P&L.Today, there is a very successful "department store." It is called Amazon.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2017

    Should workers have the right to disconnect?

    It is surprising that France needed to pass this law. In France, work outside of work is not the norm. The 24-hour business mindset for employees is largely an American phenomenon. It is almost impossible to do business around the world when it is "family" time in the local geography. Where the law is really needed is right in the U.S.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2017

    Will ‘Digital Day’ become a mainstay for Amazon?

    I am sure there will be a great response initially, but is Amazon just training their customers to wait for the next big event to buy? In the end, if the "events" multiply, they are just moving sales around the calendar and lowering margins.Kinda sounds familiar.
  • Posted on: 01/03/2017

    What will Amazon gain from its charitable shipping efforts?

    When I first read the headline, my initial response was, ugh, Amazon is joining all those other companies that mis-use charitable connections to make people feel good about their brand.But then I read the commentary. Bravo to Amazon. This is really walking the walk. It is an outstanding program and the reality is that it will be a tiny, infinitesimal share of Amazon's overall freight cost. (Or, where Amazon has a fixed-rate bulk contract, no additional cost at all.)
  • Posted on: 12/22/2016

    Should department stores talk less about Millennials and more about ‘heavy spenders’?

    The department store has to reassess its business model. It is not a matter of drawing certain demographics or psycho-graphics to the store, it is a matter of designing a retail environment that reflects whatever the future of retailing is. The Millennials will give the department store a pretty good indication of that future. Don't try to bring this group to the store, bring the store to this group. Yes, it's easier said than done, but that is what every failed retailer in history has failed to do.By the way, today is December 22 and all the Christmas shopping is done. Some of the presents are already wrapped. Neither my wife nor I stepped into one store this holiday season. NOT ONE!
  • Posted on: 12/21/2016

    How are manufacturers failing retailers?

    I am going to go back a number of years. Back in 2005 Walmart was my biggest customer, followed by Walgreens. With Walmart it was our responsibility to electronically monitor movement in every store and to surface any issues before headquarters knew about them. An out-of-stock was our problem, not theirs. We had access to all the data we needed to be a partner supplier.Walgreens was another story. They gave us no access and in fact had no interest anything we could tell them. Case in point, our product was the Today contraceptive sponge. In Arizona they were constantly out-of-stock in Tempe (home of Arizona State University) and overstocked in the retirement community of Scottsdale. They complained that the product wasn't moving in the Scottsdale stores, yet never increased the order delivery quantities for the Tempe stores (and never let us move product from Scottsdale to Tempe).I haven't been vendor since 2008. But my conclusion is that the retailer side too often sees the manufacturer not as a partner, but just someone who "makes money selling product."
  • Posted on: 12/20/2016

    Will a higher minimum wage translate to better service levels?

    You are correct. I should have said, "better pay leads to greater retention and happier workers. Those two elements do translate into 'better service.'"

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