J.Crew president and creative director Jenna Lyons might be under attack by the right wing nut jobs at Fox for letting her son paint his toes pink, but her boss Mickey Drexler thinks she could be the right person to succeed him when he steps down.
J. Crew Chairman and CEO Mickey Drexler gave his first interview since taking J. Crew private to Bloomberg’s For the Record program, hosted by Margaret Brennan. In it, Drexler dishes on everything from the decision to take J.Crew private, expanding internationally, and Jenna Lyons. The full interview airs this weekend but here are the highlights, courtesy Bloombergy TV’s In Business with Margaret Brennan:
On Jenna Lyons as his possible successor, and his succession plan: “Well how could you say no, right? I mean, I don’t know if she’s going to be watching this or not, but sure…I think everyone has to think about a succession plan. And I think about that too. This is early days, really. And certainly that would be important because the responsibility is to your associates and the shareholders. So yes. You figure out the team and who’s best and you’re always working.”
On taking J.Crew private: “I would do it the same way…I sleep well at night. People write things. It’s the way of America. I expected it. It is what it is. I can’t blame anyone. If you look at most buyouts etc., things happen. But I’m very comfortable with it. First of all, no one ever says they wouldn’t do anything differently. I wouldn’t buy the same amount of the goods I see here maybe the same in certain styles or whatever. But I’d have to think about that.”
On expanding the brand internationally: “We’re looking at international frankly, because the demand is there…We are an American brand, but I find most brands today are actually worldwide…We go to Canada in the fall. But we’re looking at an online [business] actually even sooner than even with bricks and mortar because our online business is our most profitable business. And we just have huge demand overseas. So we’re not running. We’re walking, we’re studying right now. But we launch the U.K. I think in August or September. That’s kind of our official online international. Although we are in Japan left over from a deal we had. So we’re starting to emphasize the Japanese too.”
On micromanaging: “We micro-manage the heck out of our business. We look at every style. And we do that. Some people were speaking at a business school last year, and they say we’ve been accused of micromanaging. I said, you show me someone who does their job well who’s not micromanaging every detail of what a customer feels. Now you can define it differently. So we look at every style. I’m involved…I took it personally because someone wrote about 20 years ago that it’s not good to micromanage. And then I looked at all the people out there who run their companies and I’ve had the honor to be on the Apple board for 12 years. A lot of micro-managing going on there. No one’s complaining about the results.”
On the Apple connection: “As a director, I was involved in early days with Steve on store design and the team. And that’s probably one of the reasons we got together. Although I can say I thought his idea to do an Apple store was incredible. But Steve thinks beyond wherever anyone else is thinking.”
Watch an excerpt from the show here: