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J.Crew chairman steps down

J.Crew chairman and former-chief executive Millard “Mickey” Drexler has stepped down from his position to focus on other interests, including the development of investment business Dexler Ventures, LLC.

Chad Leat has been elected as chairman effective immediately. Drexler is set to continue to serve as a strategic advisor to the company’s board and CEO.

Drexler said it had been a privilege to spend 15 years with the business, and he was thankful to have been a part of its evolution throughout the years.

“I look forward to working with the Office of the CEO and the board as a strategic advisor to help support J.Crew’s long term success,” Drexler said in an announcement to investors.

Leat is a former vice-chairman of global banking at Citigroup and holds nearly three decades of markets and banking experience, having led numerous successful and profitable businesses at Citigroup.

“I am honored to serve has the next chairman of J.Crew,” Leat said.

“As chairman, my priorities will be to ensure that the J.Crew brand moves quickly to capitalise on recent momentum and to support Madewell’s growth towards becoming a one billion dollar brand, while also working with the board to identify strong, permanent leadership to guide the Company in its next chapter.”

Drexler’s departure follows the exit of chief executive James Brett and chief marketing officer Vanessa Holden in November 2018. Brett had been in the position for 16 months, while Holden had been with J.Crew for one year.

Brett’s exit left the brand leaderless at a pivotal moment, according to GlobalRetail Data managing director Neil Saunders, who noted that the suddenness of the exit suggested a disagreement over how to develop the brand moving forward, and that the brand’s management had been an issue since before

“If the departure of Jim Brett hails the return to these unrealistic attitudes, J.Crew is going to slip back and undo all of the progress made to date. Given the precariousness of its financial position, this is a mistake it cannot afford to make,” Saunders said.

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