What will happen to J.Crew without Mickey Drexler as CEO?
Past performance, as they say, is no indication of future performance. That, unfortunately, turned out to be the case with J.Crew’s Mickey Drexler, who is stepping down as chief executive of the retailer, despite a reputation as among the greats in apparel retailing based on leading a turnaround of Gap and creating its successful Old Navy chain.
Mr. Drexler, who will remain as J.Crew’s chairman, is being replaced by James Brett, a retail executive with more than 25 years experience. Mr. Brett, who most recently served as president of West Elm, will join J.Crew next month. Mr. Brett previously served as chief merchandising officer for Urban Outfitters. He also worked in merchandising roles for Anthropologie, J.C. Penney and May Department Stores.
“We continue to make significant changes to position our company for long-term success,” said Mr. Drexler, in a statement. “As chairman and an owner of the company, it is my responsibility to focus on the future of J.Crew and find the right leadership to execute on our strategic plans.”
In an interview last month with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Drexler admitted that he did not appreciate the speed at which technology was changing the retail business. The chain has moved some of its clothing production from China to countries close to the U.S. market.
Mr. Drexler told the paper that J.Crew was lowering prices on about 300 items and had created an analytics group focused on optimizing pricing.
Jenna Lyons, president and J. Crew’s long-time creative director, stepped down in April after several years of sales declines. Ms. Lyons was replaced by Somsack Sikhounmuong as chief design officer at J.Crew. He was head designer for the company’s successful Madewell brand from 2013 to 2015 and is responsible for overseeing the design teams for J.Crew’s men’s, women’s and crewcut lines.
- Appointment of experienced retail executive marks next step in company’s pursuit of sustainable growth – J.Crew Group, Inc.
- Struggling J. Crew getting a new CEO – The Washington Post
- The other shoe has dropped at J.Crew – Quartz
- Are some CEOs too old to learn new tricks? – RetailWire
- Will Jenna Lyon’s departure help or hinder J.Crew’s turnaround efforts? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you expect to happen to J.Crew without Mickey Drexler as CEO? What do you think James Brett will bring to the job that wasn’t present with Mickey Drexler?