Former Head of Victoria's Secret Jan Singer Named New J.Crew CEO
J.Crew has named former head of Victoria's Secret and retail industry veteran Jan Singer as its new chief executive officer, effective Feb. 2, reports CNN. Singer is an experienced consumer, brand and retail leader, CEO and board member, having previously served in leadership positions at SPANX, Nike, Reebok, Kate Spade and other retailers. J.Crew has been searching for a permanent chief executive since 2018, when former CEO Jim Brett, who came from West Elm, resigned less than two years into the role. According to a press release, J.Crew interim CEO Michael J. Nicholson will return to his previous role as president and chief operating officer of J.Crew Group, Inc. and Libby Wadle will continue as president and CEO of Madewell, reporting separately to the company's board of directors. To address its mounting debt, J.Crew in September announced plans to spin off Madewell, its fast-growing denim brand, into a separate public company.
Total Retail's Take: J.Crew has been searching quite a long time for a new chief executive. The company needs someone who can focus the brand and spur a turnaround, as the retailer has been struggling with around $1.7 billion in debt and declining store sales. About Singer's appointment, Director and Chairman of the board of directors Chad Leat said, "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 need to jump-start J.Crew's digital offerings and refocus on the customer to get the company back on a level playing field with its growing competitor set. She has her work cut out for her, and it will be interesting to see how J.Crew evolves in 2020 as Singer implements her strategy.
Kristina Stidham is the digital content manager at Total Retail and sister brand Women in Retail Leadership Circle. She is passionate about digital media and handles social media, video, and podcast production for both brands, as well as contributing articles and attending events. Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia.