The sheer depth and length of the recession, now spanning roughly 23 months, has presented footwear’s leaders with extraordinary financial challenges. And this year’s Power 100 reflects those tough times, particularly for retailers, several of whom slipped in the rankings.
Still, many execs battled the economy and even notched a victory or two. Take Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh, who stunned the industry by agreeing to sell his firm to Amazon.com for roughly $979 million — which explains why he jumped to No. 7 on this year’s list.
Several new players also found their way into the Power 100, such as Toms Shoes’ Blake Mycoskie, who has turned a charitable endeavor into a footwear force. Sam and Libby Edelman of Sam Edelman earned their spot following a number of smart moves in the moderate market.
As always, Footwear News examined all the key players — from designers to captains of corporations — their product and the amount of clout they wield in the industry. Of course, we also looked at sales figures and earnings, but in a down market that doesn’t always tell the whole story. To that end, this year we gave special attention to strategic plans, cost-saving initiatives and internal investments — all of which will position companies for growth once the economic clouds clear and there’s something good to remember.