The mighty get mightier. In a year when athletic fueled the industry, giants such as Nike and Foot Locker — and their fearless leaders — ruled the scene. The sport boom also paved the way for veteran players like the Greenbergs to take their Skechers empire to dramatic new heights. But skyrocketing sales aren’t the only indication of power.
Take a look at the social media prowess of Monsieur Louboutin, who has 5.6 million Instagram followers and counting.
This year’s FN ranking pays tribute to an eclectic mix of game-changers, brand builders and longtime executives with staying power. Who made the top 10? Read on.
Phil Knight, 77
Mark Parker, 60
Chairman; CEO & President; Nike Inc.
The Swoosh continues to do it, setting a $50 billion revenue target by 2020. Parker will lead the way in reaching that goal as Knight relinquishes the chairman role. While Nike lost NBA star James Harden to Adidas, its athletic dominance continued this year, hitting big with its latest LeBron James and Kevin Durant shoes, and its first for Kyrie Irving, the Kyrie 1. Excitement around Converse’s Chuck Taylor All Star II hasn’t hurt, either.
Power Players: Jim Calhoun, Trevor Edwards, Larry Miller
Blake Nordstrom, 55
Eric Nordstrom, 52
Pete Nordstrom, 53
Co-Presidents; Nordstrom Inc.
In May, the Nordstrom brothers were named co-presidents of their family’s retail empire, now encompassing 317 stores, with net sales of $6.7 billion in the first half of 2015. The restructuring reflects Nordstrom’s team-based, multichannel approach. The firm is driving sales at every level — opening full-line and Rack locations, expanding its online selection and boosting the Madewell business.
Power Players: Jeffrey Kalinsky, Scott Meden, Jamie Nordstrom
Dick Johnson, 57
CEO & President; Foot Locker Inc.
With Johnson at the helm, Foot Locker is distancing itself from the competition. The retailer saw a 29 percent jump in profits in Q2, with total revenue of $1.7 billion. It also expanded its partnership spaces with vendors (Nike’s House of Hoops and Flyzone, Puma Labs), introduced the Nike Kicks Lounge and The Armoury with Under Armour, and built more stores in Western Europe.
Power Players: Jake Jacobs, Lauren Peters, Stacy Cunningham
Diane Sullivan, 60
CEO, President & Chairman; Caleres Inc.
The highest-ranking female executive on our list made one of her boldest moves to date — rebranding the firm formerly known as Brown Shoe. Caleres also pumped up its contemporary roster and added Diane von Furstenberg to its licensed brands. Caleres continues to invest heavily in names like Sam Edelman and retail powerhouse Famous Footwear. Now, many insiders are waiting for Sullivan to make another buzzworthy acquisition.
Power Players: Rick Ausick, Sam Edelman, Jay Schmidt
Robert Greenberg, 73
Michael Greenberg, 52
Chairman & CEO; President; Skechers USA Inc.
Skechers capitalized on momentum in casual-athletic footwear, tripling its share price and nabbing double-digit revenue gains each quarter so far this year. The Greenbergs also went after international markets, opening wholly-owned subsidiaries in Latin America and Central Eastern Europe. On the domestic front, Skechers sponsored the Los Angeles Marathon and added Sugar Ray Leonard and Meghan Trainor to its roster of celebrity endorsers.
Power Player: David Weinberg
Blake Krueger, 62
Chairman, CEO & President; Wolverine World Wide Inc.
Tough times dogged Krueger this year, even into Q3, when overall profits and revenues dropped. While Sperry’s sales growth stayed flat, the brand remains a priority for the exec, as does strengthening consumer awareness of Merrell. Krueger will close more Stride Rite stores and has shed the Cushe brand to focus on higher-value labels Sperry, Keds, Merrell and Saucony.
Power Players: Jim Gabel, Ted Gedra, Michael Jeppesen, Andy Simister, Michael Stornant, Jim Zwiers
Eric Wiseman, 60
Chairman & CEO; VF Corp.
Although VF took a break from acquisitions, its organic growth is red hot. The firm bowed new e-commerce platforms for Vans and Timberland and expects e-commerce to hit $600 million by 2016. Wiseman bumped company veteran Steve Rendle up to COO and president as revenues remained steady amid currency pressures. Both Vans and Timberland have enjoyed consistent double-digit growth.
Power Players: Steve Rendle, Scott Roe, Stewart Whitney, Kevin Bailey
Christian Louboutin, 52
Designer & Principal; Christian Louboutin
#Louboutinworld tackled a ton of new territory. The Frenchman, who has more than 5 million Instagram followers, debuted lipstick this fall after opening his first standalone beauty boutique in Paris. Louboutin also bowed three storesin China, one in Singapore, one in Kuwait and another in Australia. Plus, the designer is abot the unveil his renovated Madison Avenue digs and is pushing handbags like never before for next spring.
Power Players: Alexis Mourot, Catherine Roggero
Terry Lundgren, 63
Chairman & CEO; Macy’s Inc.
Although Team Lundgren battled slowing tourism, slumping sales and West Coast port issues in Q1 and Q2, the firm forged ahead with plans for international expansion — the exec signed a joint venture that will create Macy’s China Ltd. in Hong Kong — and omnichannel optimization. Lundgren will shutter 35 to 40 underperforming stores to focus on digital growth.
Power Players: Jeffrey Gennette, Muriel Gonzalez, Francine Klein, Tony Spring
Steve Madden, 58
Ed Rosenfeld, 40
Creative & Design Chief; Chairman & CEO; Steve Madden Ltd.
Kicking off its 25th anniversary year with the Wall Street-approved acquisition of Blondo, Steve Madden is solidifying its reputation as a fashion-footwear powerhouse, though it still had to overcome trend softness for most of the year. The company saw 9 percent revenue growth in Q2, added 15 stores and partnered with rapper Ja Rule for a shoe line.
Power Players: Karla Frieders, Amelia Newton, Awadhesh Sinha