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These Are 11 of the Biggest Fashion and Retail CEO Changes of 2020

Sheena Butler-Young
·5 min read

With all the frenetic shifts brought about by 2020, it’s no wonder retail’s C-suite has moved in tandem. From CEO exits to headline-making appointments, FN rounds up the chief executive moves that shaped the year. (The below is in no particular order.)

Tapestry

After less than a year of serving as Tapestry Inc. CEO, Jide Zeitlin, who had also been the firm’s chairman, resigned in July citing personal reasons. Reports later detailed years-old allegations of misconduct on the part of Zeitlin, specifically that he posed as a photographer in order to lure a woman into a romantic relationship. Zeitlin, who had been one of only five Black CEOs on the Fortune 500, denied the allegations and said he stepped down to avoid the “distraction” the accusations were creating for Tapestry, parent to Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman. Coinciding with Zeitlin’s departure, the company announced a series of interim appointments, including the appointment of CFO Joanne Crevoiserat as interim Tapestry CEO. In October, Tapestry named Crevoiserat to the role permanently. This past February, the conglomerate also shook up the ranks of two of its owned brands: Liz Fraser was named CEO and brand president of Kate Spade; Giorgio Sarné was promoted to CEO and brand president of Stuart Weitzman.

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J.Crew

In November, two months after its exit from bankruptcy, J.Crew swapped CEOs — it was the third such change in three years. The company tapped Libby Wadle for the top post, overseeing its namesake and Factory banners in addition to Madewell. She succeeded Jan Singer, who departed the company “to pursue other endeavors.” Wadle has more than 25 years of experience in the retail industry, and she spent the last 16 years holding various senior management roles at J.Crew Group. Most recently, she served as president and then CEO of Madewell. She joined the business in 2004 as VP of J.Crew Factory.

Dick’s Sporting Goods

On November 24, Dick’s Sporting Goods named current president Lauren Hobart as its new CEO, effective Feb. 1. She succeeds Edward Stack, who will become executive chairman and retain his role as chief merchant at the company. The appointment is part of Dick’s long-term succession plan, undertaken by Stack and the board of directors. Hobart has more than 25 years of experience in the finance, consumer and retail spaces, as well as spent 14 years in various leadership positions at PepsiCo before she joined Dick’s as CMO in 2011. She was appointed president in 2017 and joined the board of directors the following year.

Zappos

Tony Hsieh, the Zappos.com luminary who revolutionized the shoe business and built one of the most innovative companies in modern history, died in November from injuries sustained in a Connecticut house fire. He was 46. In August, the Zappos founder and CEO announced he was stepping down after 21 years at the helm. Kedar Deshpande, then-COO at the company, assumed the role of CEO.

Patagonia

In June, it was confirmed that Rose Marcario, one of the outdoor industry’s most vocal proponents of social and environmental change, was exiting Patagonia after 12 years. The company announced in September Ryan Gellert, who has overseen the brand’s business across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa since 2014, will run the company.

Hudson’s Bay Co.

In March, as the company charted its path to go private, Hudson’s Bay Co. shuffled its top ranks. The company announced the departure of CEO Helena Foulkes and said Executive Chairman Richard Baker will take the helm as CEO. Foulkes had served in the chief post since February 2018; her exit was effective March 13.

PVH Corp.

PVH Corp. announced in September that it is moving forward with its planned leadership succession. The Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein parent said president Stefan Larsson will take on the role of CEO, effective Feb. 1. He will succeed Manny Chirico, who has served in the post since 2006 and will continue as chairman of the board of directors. Larsson joined PVH last year in June, where, as president, he oversaw the company’s branded businesses and reported directly to Chirico.

Jimmy Choo

In February, Jimmy Choo announced Pierre Denis is stepping down as CEO after eight years on the job. John Idol, chairman and CEO of Capri Holdings, parent of Jimmy Choo, said the company wishes Denis well “as he moves on to his next role,” although it was unclear where the executive is headed. It was later revealed he became CEO of American beauty company Coty. In September, Capri announced it had named Hannah Colman, who has worked at Jimmy Choo for 24 years, as the brand’s new CEO. Colman had been acting chief executive since May.

Toms Shoes

After years of financial challenges, Toms Shoes landed in new hands. Toms founder and former CEO Blake Mycoskie and private equity firm Bain Capital announced that they would cede control of the company to a group of creditors as part of a debt restructuring exchange. In late January, the company announced it appointed Magnus Wedhammar as its new CEO. The exec served three years as VP and GM at Sanuk. Prior to that role, he was VP of product at Sperry and also worked at Converse for a decade.

Forever 21

In February, Daniel Kulle was named the new CEO of Forever 21. Brand management firm ABG had partnered with mall owners Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners to buy the bankrupt teen small staple out of bankruptcy. Forever 21’s new chief previously served two decades at rival fast-fashion giant H&M, most recently as strategic adviser to former CEO Karl-Johan Persson and former president of H&M North America. Kulle is tasked with using his digital expertise to enhance Forever 21’s content and social media strategies. He also helms the retailer’s sustainability initiatives — a key tentpole for the retailer over the next few years.

The Gap Inc.

Gap Inc. announced the appointment of Old Navy executive chief Sonia Syngal to the post of CEO, effective March 23. Syngal had served at the helm at Old Navy since 2016. Syngal has been tasked with strengthening the performance of Gap’s portfolio, which includes its eponymous flagship brand as well as Old Navy, Banana Republic, Athleta, Intermix, Janie and Jack and Hill City brands.