Fashion's Best CEO's Are at a Mall Near You

October 24, 2014 BY STEVE DOOL


This week, the Harvard Business Review released their 2014 list of the Best Performing CEO's in the World. And while the view from the top must look mighty familiar to the current crop of B-School idols like Jeffrey Bezos of Amazon and John Chambers of Cisco, The New York Times' Vanessa Friedman points out an interesting trend based more markedly on who isn't included.

Friedman notes that the top fashion CEO at #11 is Tadashi Yanai of Fast Retailing (Uniqlo's parent company), followed by Pablo Isla Álvarez de Tejera of Inditex (aka Zara's overlord) and leaders from Ross Stores, TJX, Swatch, Nordstrom and Macy's, among others. It's a who's who of mall brands - a point driven home even more by the high placement of David Simon of Simon Property Group, which owns many of the shopping centers where these other CEO's make their homes.

But not on the list? Luxury brand's figureheads - think top brass at LVMH or Michael Kors - who Friedman says are generally "glossy names most often hailed as fashion’s success stories."

She attributes these omissions as proof of a general downturn in luxury sales at the retail level and claims the list bolsters the idea that accessibility is key to success in the current market. It's an idea that's hard to dispute given this list, and the news that even China is seeing slowed luxury growth, while Sears and JCPenney are reporting success.

Maybe it's time for everyone to start working on those diffusion lines, STAT.