The Reaction: Top Footwear Execs Cheer Schulman Pick

He used to be a formidable competitor. Now, he’s a critical retail partner.

Joshua Schulman’s appointment as the new president of Bergdorf Goodman took some luxury footwear players by surprise, but they were overwhelmingly positive about the move.

“He’s turned every business he’s worked on into gold,” said Alain Baume, president and CEO of Vicini USA, parent company of Giuseppe Zanotti. “[While at Jimmy Choo], he always had a great respect for other brands and their value and design. Even though we were competitors, we always respected each other.”

George Malkemus, president of Manolo Blahnik USA, said that while the move was unexpected, he viewed Schulman as a solid fit, given his deep merchandising expertise.

Prior to assuming the top role at Jimmy Choo in 2007, Schulman held positions at Kenneth Cole, The Gap, Gucci and YSL.

“He’s got a great energy and I look forward to working with him,” Malkemus said.

Deborah Lloyd, president and chief creative officer of Kate Spade New York, also saluted Schulman’s extensive experience. “Josh has such a vast knowledge of fashion and a very strong point of view,” she said. “He will be an asset to Bergdorf Goodman. He can take what is already an amazing store and bring it into an exciting new chapter.”

Schulman helped turn Jimmy Choo into a global luxury force during his four-year tenure at the brand. The sale of the brand to Labelux last year for a reported $850 million was, in many ways, due to his smart leadership of the company and aggressive growth strategy, which took the label into new markets and fresh categories. He also engineered innovative deals, including the best-selling fast-fashion partnership with H&M.

“He is an extremely skilled merchant who has an admirable understanding of luxury product and the desires of the luxury consumer,” said Christopher Suarez, managing director at Nicholas Kirkwood. “His intuition really showed during his term at Jimmy Choo, expanding the product ranges with great success, time and again.”

Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, predicted Schulman will thrive in his new role. “He’s very well-suited for the job, and I think he will embrace it and make very significant changes in terms of the experience and innovation,” Pedraza said. “Josh is a modern executive. He’s very leading-edge, and he might want to do something with the look and feel of the store.”

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