As Mickey Drexler Steps Down, J Crew Looks to an Outsider to Lead

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As Mickey Drexler Steps Down, J Crew Looks to an Outsider to Lead


J.Crew Group, Inc. named James Brett as CEO, ending legendary fashion icon Millard "Mickey" Drexler's 14-year stretch at the helm. Brett, an executive with more than 25 years of retail experience, most recently served as president of specialty home furnishing company West Elm. Brett will assume the CEO position this July and will also join the company's board of directors. Drexler will continue in his role as chairman. Michael J. Nicholson will remain as president, COO and CFO of J.Crew Group, Inc. and Libby Wadle will remain as president of Madewell.

Drexler admitted recently that he underestimated how much technology would affect retail. 

"This is an exciting time for J.Crew as we continue to make significant changes to position our company for long-term success," said Drexler. "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."

Drexler continued, "Jim has a proven track record of pushing for innovation and growing omni-channel brands. I look forward to moving into my new role and assist Jim and the team in every way possible to help ensure a smooth and successful transition."

Brett stated, "I'm honored to work with J.Crew's talented team of leaders, board of directors and Mickey, who have built an iconic American brand. J.Crew has tremendous opportunity to play a more meaningful role in our lives, and I look forward to leading it through its next phase of growth."

Brett most recently served as president of West Elm, a member of the Williams-Sonoma, Inc. portfolio, since 2010, where he oversaw all aspects of the brand. During his tenure, Brett grew West Elm to become a $1-billion global brand. Prior to West Elm, Brett was the chief merchandising officer for the Urban Outfitters Division of Urban Outfitters, Inc. He has also served in various merchandising roles at other retailers including Anthropologie, the J.C. Penney Company, Inc. and May Department Stores Company.

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