J.Crew Hires Victoria’s Secret Veteran as CEO

Jamie Grill-Goodman
Senior Editor
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J.Crew Group has appointed the former CEO of Victoria's Secret Lingerie, Jan Singer, to serve as its new CEO.

The veteran retail executive with more than 25 years of experience will take the reins of the apparel retailer Feb. 2, 2020 and will join the company's board of directors. Libby Wadle will continue as president and CEO of Madewell, reporting separately to the board.

"Jan is a dynamic leader with significant experience growing and modernizing omnichannel brands," said Chad Leat, director and chairman of the board of directors. "Over the past year, we have made great progress restoring profitability at the J.Crew brand, while further optimizing our operations, thereby establishing a strong foundation for long-term growth. Jan's passion for our brand, focused vision of our potential and deep understanding of the modern consumer will be invaluable in rebuilding the strategic positioning and prestige of our iconic brand and company."

Singer will assume responsibility for all aspects of the J.Crew and J.Crew Factory brands and businesses. Interim CEO Michael J. Nicholson will return to his previous role as president and COO. Nicholson  took over following the abrupt departure of chief executive James Brett, who was brought on to relaunch the brand after longtime CEO Mickey Drexler stepped down in 2017.

"On behalf of the board, we would like to sincerely thank Mike for his guidance and leadership during this critical interim period," Leat continued. "He will continue as a valued and integral leader on the executive team, partnering closely with Jan to drive the business forward."

At Victoria's Secret, Singer led the company's $4 billion intimates business across 1,000 stores and digital platforms. She strengthened operating performance by innovating across core categories and relaunching new high-growth businesses like sleep and exclusive collaborations.

Singer joined Victoria's Secret from her previous role as CEO of Spanx, Inc. Prior to Spanx, she spent 10 years at Nike, Inc., where she led both the global footwear and apparel teams. During her tenure at Nike footwear, she oversaw the successful launch of iconic products including Nike Flyknit, Nike Free and the reset of Nike Air.

"I'm excited and honored to join this iconic brand and team at such an important time," said Singer. "For me, J.Crew has led specialty retail by knowing what it takes to be a brand—putting the consumer first and at the center. My passion for developing product, brand experiences and teams feels very at home at J.Crew. It's a beloved brand that has always been in my heart and, like millions of consumers, in my closet."

"Jan's appointment as CEO is an important milestone for our company,” said Nicholson. “I am proud of the way the teams came together in 2019 with a renewed focus on restoring profitability at the J.Crew brand, and our results reflected encouraging momentum led by strong gross margin performance and the accelerated benefits of our multi-year cost optimization program. With these key building blocks in place, it is an opportune time for J.Crew to bring on a leader with a proven track record in positioning brands for success."