Mickey Drexler is Leaving J.Crew
J.Crew, still without a CEO, has also lost a chairman: former CEO Mickey Drexler. The retailer announced Friday that Drexler has officially retired from his role as chairman, which he's had since stepping down as CEO in June 2017. Drexler, who joined J.Crew in 2003, has been credited with turning it into the massive, iconic brand it is today, in addition to launching the rapidly growing Madewell brand, which the company is now practically relying on to stay afloat as J.Crew sales have floundered. He's perhaps the company's most famous public face, and the person most associated with its one-time success. Drexler is leaving to focus on Drexler Ventures, LLC, through which he invests in companies like Warby Parker and Outdoor Voices (where he serves as a chairman), but will remain a "strategic advisor" to the office of the CEO at J.Crew, whomever that may end up being.
Total Retail's Take: It's the end of an era at J.Crew. Drexler is largely credited with growing the fashion brand into a household retail name. However, the company's recent struggles and its lack of leadership — former CEO James Brett left after a little more than a year on the job following rumored clashes with Drexler — perhaps convinced Drexler that it was time to move on. Will he quietly fade away into retirement? Drexler's track record doesn't suggest so. I suspect that Drexler will figure prominently in the selection of J.Crew's next CEO, and that his fingerprints will be seen in the retailer's future strategy.