The 10 Most Influential CEOs in Retail

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The 10 Most Influential CEOs in Retail

By Jamie Grill-Goodman - 12/07/2015
The massive retail industry is incredibly competitive in price, customer experience, and retail technology. But it is also competitive when it comes to its people. The industry's greats are both innovative and influential.

They help shape the way American's shop and in today's digital age, many are responsible for ushering in a new era of retail. The following list includes ten CEOs to watch.

For the full list, "The 25 most influential people in retail" click here. 

Mark Parker, CEO of Nike

Few companies innovate as steadily as Nike does. Parker has been praised for his leadership abilities at the designer, marketer and distributor of athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories.

Mickey Drexler, Chairman and CEO for J. Crew

Drexler worked at Ann Taylor and Gap before helping shape J. Crew and has a powerful team. The company just announced it is naming Michael J. Nicholson President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer effective January 11, 2016, who also hails from ANN INC. J.Crew Group, Inc. is an omnichannel retailer of women's, men's and children's apparel, shoes and accessories, operating 287 J.Crew retail stores, 99 Madewell stores, and 159 factory stores.

Karl Johnson Persson, CEO of H&M

H&M brings high fashion to the masses with its high-profile collaborations.The company does not own factories, but instead buys its apperal products for men, women, and children from independent suppliers.

Stefan Larsson, CEO of Ralph Lauren

Larsson was tapped to replace Ralph Lauren this Novmeber, but he made waves as the Global President of Old Navy, where he enjoyed three consecutive years of profitable growth, adding $1 billion in sales. 

Leslie Wexner, Chairman and CEO of L Brands

L Brands (formerly Limited Brands), houses Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works. Les Wexner is one of the longest-serving CEOs in America, having built a retail empire from one small store he opened in Columbus, Ohio in 1963. 

Brian Cornell, CEO and Board Chairman of Target

Cornell's focus on fashion has made mass merchandise retailer Target popular with young people. Cornell leads the retailer’s ten-person executive leadership team in accelerating Target’s performance and advancing its digital evolution

Kevin Plank, CEO, Chairman, and Founder of Under Armour.

Athletic apparel company Under Armour has grown explosively in 2015. Plank's purchases of health and fitness tracking apps are pushing the company towards creating an admirable digital health platform.

Do Won Chang, CEO and Cofounder of Forever 21.

Do Won started his own clothing store in 1984. Now the affordable apparel retailer, Forever 21, offers fast fashion accessible to young shoppers' budgets and is the 5th largest specialty retailer in the United States.

Terry Lundgren, Chairman, CEO, President, and Director of Macy's Inc.

Macy's Inc. operates Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Bloomingdale’s Outlet, Macy's Backstage, and Bluemercury stores. Macy's may be struggling, but Lundgren is incredibly candid about Macy's woes and what the company is doing to overcome its challenges.

Tadashi Yanai, Founder, CEO, and President of Fast Retailing, Which Houses Uniqlo.

Since opening its first store in Japan in 1984, UNIQLO has grown to become an international leader with more than 1,600 stores worldwide. Across the United States UNIQLO currently has 43 stores. His core brand, Uniqlo, reported a 65% increase in international sales in 2014 in part from his strategy of creating flagship stores and keeping tight control of company culture, which includes three months of training for every new employee, according to Forbes.