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It’s all about Mickey

06/12/2010

WSJ Magazine did a long expose this week about Mickey Drexler, the CEO who has been credited with the turnaround of GAP, Ann Taylor, and now J. Crew. There is no question that this man is a retail guru (although I would definitely question GAP’s “successful” turnaround). But my favorite part of the article was how the writer really delved into Mickey the man. I especially loved this little tidbit:

“Before embarking on this story, I was invited by Margot Fooshee, senior vice president of marketing and public relations, to a meeting with her and Drexler. Fooshee, a wiry, attractive brunette who fearlessly sports daytime sequins, wanted to be sure WSJ. would describe J. Crew properly, because “there are often mistakes in the media.”

In the industry, Mickey is someone whose professionalism has been a constant call out in the work place. Sources say that yelling, outbursts, and emotional tirades are no stranger to the somewhat eccentric (as some politely put it) CEO.  A contact at BlueFly.com remembers being asked “Who the fuck are you?” by Drexler during a walk around the office when she was free lancing at J. Crew a few years ago. I am all for leadership getting to know their teams, but not if he is stumbling around terrorizing his employees.

CEO Mickey Drexler, J. Crew Group

This consistently emotional state had definitely permeated J. Crew as an organization. Those who have been with the company have said that merchandising is done on a more love-it-hate-it level rather than a proper balance of design and financials. But, with the great success and recent elevation of the brand, it is clear that the technique has been working thus far. J. Crew has opened its first wedding boutique and continues to expand its business.

As for the CEO, he claims, “I’m a lot easier than I was.” Yet, it is clear that the journalist does not believe it to be so.

And I don’t believe him either.

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