A lot has changed in the year since FN last ranked the most powerful people in the business. Athletic players Mark King (Adidas) and Kevin Plank (Under Armour) kept the heat on with killer collabs and must-buy products — savvy moves that helped dethrone Nike’s Mark Parker. It’s no surprise, then, that retailers run by Dick Johnson (Foot Locker) and Ronnie Fieg (Kith) gained considerable ground by selling the hottest kicks. Traditional department stores and their bosses, meanwhile, felt some pain from sluggish spending and the challenges of e-tailers. But others emerged as powerhouses in their own right. Gianvito Rossi and Paul Andrew continue to add design excitement. And names such as Jamie Salter and Nick Woodhouse, of Authentic Brands, and Vionic’s Chris Gallagher all cracked our annual list for the first time, thanks to marketing moxie and newly nabbed businesses.
- Dick Johnson, 58 CEO & President; Foot Locker Inc.
Don’t tell Johnson retailers have it hard. He’s positioned the athletic behemoth to cash in on consumers’ continued craze for kicks. Performance and casual styles, as well as killer collabs — with healthy competition between brands — helped Foot Locker register a 7 percent rise in Q2 net income compared with a year earlier, to $127 million. A new flagship on 34th Street in New York helped drive traffic as well.
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POWER PLAYERS: Jake Jacobs, Lauren Peters, Lew Kimble
- Blake Nordstrom, 56 Erik Nordstrom, 52 Pete Nordstrom, 54 Co-Presidents; Nordstrom Inc.
Although a rocky department store landscape led the Nordstrom brothers to slash 400 jobs this year — and shift some executive roles — the trio powered ahead, landing a coveted partnership with Beyoncé’s Ivy Park line and nabbing superstars Jessica Alba and Melissa McCarthy for marketing campaigns. A Nordstrom × Nike concept shop in Toronto kept the momentum going; the firm’s Q2 topped estimates with $117 million in profits.
POWER PLAYERS: Jamie Nordstrom, Scott Meden, Kristin Frossmo, Jeffrey Kalinsky
- Mark Parker, 60 Chairman & CEO; Nike
After Phil Knight stepped down in June, Nike continued to march forward under Parker. The athletic giant pushed boundaries with marketing, releasing an ad with transgender athlete Chris Mosier, and with sneakers, unveiling its self-lacing HyperAdapt 1.0. But after announcing its Q1 earnings, analysts speculated Nike’s grip on athletics is under pressure from two surging brands: Adidas and Under Armour.
POWER PLAYERS: Davide Grasso, Trevor Edwards, Larry Miller
- Robert Greenberg, 74 Michael
Greenberg, 53 Chairman & CEO; President; Skechers USA Inc.
Skechers is relishing in the casual athletic sweet spot, producing consistent revenue growth all year and hitting $877.8 million in sales in Q2. For the first time, international markets became the firm’s largest revenue segment, and the Greenbergs rolled out a mega-expansion to their European Distribution Center. Skechers added Howie Long and Ozzie Smith to an increasingly star-studded endorsement roster.
POWER PLAYER: David Weinberg
- Diane Sullivan, 61 CEO, President & Chairman; Caleres Inc.
Back-to-back earnings misses in the first half of 2016 took a toll on Caleres. But Sullivan stuck to a tried-and-true playbook, rolling out buzzy ad campaigns for the brand portfolio and a fully stocked e-commerce site for Franco Sarto. Store openings accelerated for Sam Edelman, while Famous Footwear continued to bring in the lion’s share of revenues.
POWER PLAYERS: Rick Ausick, Jay Schmidt, Sam Edelman
- Blake Krueger, 62 Chairman, CEO & President; Wolverine World Wide Inc.
Krueger came out swinging this year — aggressively rationalizing Wolverine’s brick-and-mortar presence and pumping up e-commerce revenues by 20 percent. Keds’ 100th anniversary — and its new president — brought a wave of social media attention to the brand, while Merrell, Sperry and Saucony continue to power the firm ahead, boosting total sales to more than $2.5 billion.
POWER PLAYERS: Mike Stornant, Jim Zwiers, Mike Jeppesen, Richie Woodworth
- Eric Wiseman, 61 Chairman & CEO; VF Corp.
Wiseman may have maintained his infamously disciplined approach to acquisitions, but his steps to rationalize VF’s portfolio in 2016 — he sold off the sluggish contemporary brands coalition and weighed alternatives for the Licensed Sports Group — won Wall Street’s approval. Sales at Vans advanced 6 percent but slid at Timberland in Q2. Wiseman will pass the torch to VF president and COO Steve Rendle next year.
POWER PLAYERS: Rendle, Scott Roe, Scott Baxter, Kevin Bailey, Jim Pisani, Doug Palladini
- Kasper Rorsted, 54 Mark King, 57 CEO; Adidas Group; President; Adidas Group North America
King stated Adidas’ U.S. business needed an overhaul in 2015. A year later, he’s delivered. Must-have performance and lifestyle offerings hit retail (Ultra Boost Uncaged, NMD), and an Originals flagship opened in New York. If that wasn’t enough, Adidas’ Q2 sales grew 32 percent in North America, bolstered by releases with Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and Rita Ora.
POWER PLAYER: Matt O’Toole
- Steve Madden, 59 Ed Rosenfeld, 41 Founder, Creative & Design Chief; Chairman & CEO; Steve Madden
Madden’s magic touch for moderately priced fashion helped beat back industry-wide challenges. His firm’s Q2 revenues hit $325.4 million, while retail comps gained 8 percent in the first half. The brand added 24 stores worldwide and launched an e-commerce site for European consumers.
POWER PLAYERS: Amelia Newton, Karla Frieders, Rachelle Watts, Gabriella Weiser, Christina Ciglar
- Manolo Blahnik, 73 George Malkemus, 62 Founder & Designer; Manolo Blahnik; President; Manolo Blahnik USA
The veteran designer teamed up with two of fashion’s newest stars, Rihanna and Vetements, for attention-grabbing collaborations. The global team, led by CEO Kristina Blahnik, opened a shop in Selfridges in London and partnered with Bluebell for expansion in Asia. Next year, Blahnik debuts a long-awaited documentary about his life and a new exhibition showcasing his favorite styles.
POWER PLAYER: Kristina Blahnik
- Christian Louboutin, 53 Designer; Christian Louboutin
Louboutin continued to expand his reach. The designer launched his first co-branded collaboration, men’s sneakers with Sporty Henri, and the teams also jointly crafted the Cuban Celebratory Outfits at the Rio Olympics. The Frenchman added both a fragrance and lip lacquer line to his repertoire. The store count is up to 142 worldwide.
POWER PLAYERS: Alexis Mourot, Catherine Roggero
- Jeff Bezos, 52 Tony Hsieh, 42 Founder & Chairman; Amazon.com; CEO; Zappos.com
Zappos, which continues to operate under its controversial holacracy structure, saw the departure of longtime executive Fred Mossler. The company teamed with social star DJ Khaled to launch same-day delivery service. Amazon Fashion, meanwhile, continues to up its presence as brick-and-mortar retailers suffer. The site recently launched Sarah Jessica Parker’s shoe collection with a unique video for the debut.
POWER PLAYERS: Steve Hill, Arun Rajan, Jeff Espersen, Mike Normart, Eileen Tetreault, Melissa Costa, Cathy Beaudin
- Terry Lundgren, 64 Chairman & CEO; Macy’s Inc.
Department store headwinds proved unrelenting against Lundgren and his team this year. The outgoing CEO spent the final stretch of his tenure shuttering doors and rolling out aggressive digital strategies to keep the business afloat. Nevertheless, Q2 ended on a high note, with revenues (at $5.9 billion) and profit (at $11 million) blowing past forecasts. Lundgren will hand over the reins to Macy’s president Jeff Gennette in Q1 2017.
POWER PLAYERS: Gennette, Muriel Gonzalez, Tony Spring
- Jim Davis, 73 Rob DeMartini, 55 Chairman; CEO & President; New Balance
Building off a strong 2015, New Balance continued to impress with strong showings in athletics and athleisure. Its 3-D printed running shoe, Zante Generate, arrived in April, and the execs’ moves to collab with retailers and designers (Concepts, Todd Snyder) kept sneakerheads satisfied. A new Boston flagship and gold medal performance from Jenny Simpson in Rio didn’t hurt, either.
POWER PLAYER: Bob Infantino
- Richard Baker, 50 Liz Rodbell, 59 Marc Metrick, 43 Executive Chairman; Hudson’s Bay Co.; President; HBC Department Store Group; President; Saks Fifth Avenue
It hasn’t been an easy year, but Q2 showed a sizable increase as the Canada-based firm landed a 60 percent sales gain. The forces behind the uptick? HBC’s Europe division and the addition of e-tailer Gilt. The Saks Fifth Avenue flagship in New York is undergoing a revamp, and a new location recently opened downtown. Digital sales were also a focus for the firm this year.
POWER PLAYERS: Tracy Margolies, Roopal Patel, MaryAnne Morin, David Law
- Karen Katz, 59 CEO & President; Neiman Marcus Group
Like other department stores, Neiman Marcus had a challenging year. For fiscal 2016, the store reported sales of $4.95 billion, a 3 percent year-over-year drop and a 4 percent comp decline. In terms of fashion, it garnered headlines for exclusively launching the runway collection by Rihanna and Puma. MyTheresa.com’s lauded fashion director Justin O’Shea departed in March.
POWER PLAYERS: Josh Schulman, Linda Fargo, Ken Downing, Jonathan Joselove, Michael Kliger
- Pierre Denis, 52 Sandra Choi, 44 CEO; Creative Director; Jimmy Choo
The Choo crew marked 20 years and marched forward with big plans for the future. The company, which saw a 9 percent sales rise in the first half, focused on growing men’s and fueling the business in Asia. The brand also continued to roll out a new store concept and devoted more resources to its burgeoning digital business.
POWER PLAYER: Tanya Golesic
Alex Del Cielo, 57 Louise Camuto, 46 CEO & Chairman; Chief Creative Officer; Camuto Group
The firm bulked up this year, adding three footwear brands to the portfolio: Imagine Vince Camuto, 1.StateFootwear and ED Ellen DeGeneres. For a digital push, the executives acquired Sole Society and teamed up with First Insight. Plus, they partnered with Mercedes Castillo for contemporary shoes and accessories.
POWER PLAYERS: Ed Ferrell, Jeff Howald, Julio Martini, Leah Robert
- Bob Campbell, 79 Chairman & CEO; BBC International
Campbell’s brand roster keeps getting bigger. This year, his firm snagged the global license for Nine West Kids, as well as the U.S. and Latin American licenses for men’s and boys’ footwear under the Original Penguin label. On the character side, BBC added the license for DreamWorks’ “Trolls,” premiering in theaters next month.
POWER PLAYERS: Donald Wilborn, Josue Solano, Seth Campbell
- François-Henri Pinault, 54 Björn Gulden, 51 Chairman & CEO; Kering; CEO; Puma SE
It’s been a buoyant 2016 for Kering with net income rising 6.9 percent year-on-year, thanks to its healthy luxury business — driven by Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, in particular — and revenues powered by Puma; the athletic label continues to benefit from its hot Rihanna Fenty collaboration. The swift appointment of Anthony Vaccarello to succeed Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent also sent out a positive message.
POWER PLAYERS: Vaccarello, Michele, Jay Piccola
- Diego Della Valle, 62 CEO & President; Tod’s
With the departure of Alessandra Facchinetti, women’s wear creative director at Tod’s, it was all about change this year. There are no plans to replace her; instead, the group is focusing on high-quality accessories to counteract a 3.4 percent decline in sales in its first half results.
POWER PLAYERS: Bruno Frisoni, Inès de la Fressange
- Bernard Arnault, 67 Chairman & CEO; LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton
The third quarter of 2016 was the strongest yet, with fashion and leather goods revenues up 5 percent to $3.29 billion. Nicholas Kirkwood continues to refine his strategy, and key company moves saw Haider Ackermann take the Berluti reins from Alessandro Sartori, with Maria Grazia Chiuri replacing Raf Simons to become the first female creative director at Christian Dior.
POWER PLAYERS: Kirkwood, Nicholas Ghesquiere, Grazia Chiuri
- Bob Dennis, 62 Chairman, CEO & President; Genesco Inc.
So far, 2016 is a year of highs and hold-ons for Dennis. It started with the company buying the Little Burgundy footwear chain in Canada, as well as celebrating Journeys’ 30th birthday. But a sluggish retail climate forced the firm to cut forecasts after Q2 — a move that sent shares plunging and prompted several law firms to consider action.
POWER PLAYERS: Jim Estepa, Jonathan Caplan
- Roger Rawlins, 50 Debbie Ferrée, 63 CEO; Vice Chairman & Chief Merchandising Officer; DSW Inc.
In his first year as chief executive, Rawlins zeroed in on major growth initiatives, such as the launch of DSW Kids departments in stores and expansion into the Middle East. While comp-store sales disappointed in the first half, the firm is optimistic about a progressive omnichannel strategy.
POWER PLAYERS: Jay Schottenstein, Simon Nankervis
- Miuccia Prada, 67 Designer & Co-CEO; Prada
Prada continues to drive the trend market. Under her direction, the Italian label unveiled mixed-gender runway shows and new store concepts, including a reopening of the Plaza 66 store in Shanghai. The label also ramped up its e- commerce offering with ready-to-wear launches on Net-a-porter, Mr. Porter and My Theresa.
POWER PLAYER: Patrizio Bertelli
- Kevin Plank, 44 Chairman & CEO; Under Armour
Plank’s firm turned 20 this year, and the founder made more masterful moves. Among them: a distribution deal to be in 1,100 Kohl’s stores, a new hub for design innovation, more offshoots for Stephen Curry’s basketball shoes (although the “Chef” was largely ridiculed) and a pricey, fashion-driven sportswear line by Tim Coppens.
POWER PLAYERS: Kip Fulks, Dave Dombrow, Jason LaRose
- Sam Sato, 52 CEO; The Finish Line
Sato took control in February, and for three consecutive quarters, Finish Line scored better-than-expected earnings, with revenues landing at $509.4 million in Q2. The company made a push to nab more on-trend product and is modernizing its stores, debuting a new format in 15 doors in Q2.
POWER PLAYERS: Melissa Greenwell, John Hall
- Doug McMillon, 50 President & CEO; Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Looking to go toe to toe with online rivals such as Amazon, Walmart acquired startup Jet.com for a hefty $3.3 billion. As part of an employee incentive program, the retailer raised wages for 1.2 million associates, one of the largest single-day, private-sector pay hikes ever. It also renewed its commitment to domestic manufacturing, holding its third Made in the USA open call.
POWER PLAYERS: Greg Foran, David Cheesewright
- Mindy Grossman, 59 CEO & Director; HSN Inc.
The shopping network premiered a footwear line with talk-show queen Wendy Williams and built on the success of its Vince Camuto business, adding the label’s apparel and handbags. Under Grossman, it also debuted Lucky Brand footwear. But it wasn’t all good news: A sharp decline in Q2 profits prompted the sale of two businesses, TravelSmith and Chasing Fireflies.
POWER PLAYERS: Vanessa Dusold, Katherine Davenport, Lisa Rosenbaum
- Mark Lee, 53 CEO; Barneys New York
Barneys returned to its roots, opening a 58,000-sq.-ft. downtown flagship on the same New York block where the luxury legend got its start in 1923. It also added a dedicated men’s store at its San Francisco location, featuring an expanded shoe department. The second installment of the BNY Sole Series delivered collabs from Adidas and Vans.
POWER PLAYERS: Daniella Vitale, Jennifer Sunwoo, Tom Kalenderian
- Aldo Bensadoun, 77 Founder & Executive Chairman; Aldo Group
The retailer took a major step into the future with the buzzy debut of its Connected Store concept this summer at the Westfield World Trade Center mall in New York. And to help expand its branded business into new channels, Bensadoun recruited Daianara Grullon Amalfitano as the firm’s first VP of global footwear.
POWER PLAYERS: Patrik Frisk, David Bensadoun
- Marc Fisher, 58 Founder & CEO; Marc Fisher Footwear
Fisher served up two big launches: The much-anticipated Kendall + Kylie line landed in stores in February, and Tretorn — a new license in the stable — rolled out this summer with retooled product and distribution. Fisher’s own namesake brand unveiled a fresh ad campaign and continued to spread its #makeyourmarc empowerment message, while homegrown label Indigo Rd. hit the highway for a college tour.
POWER PLAYERS: Susan Itzkowitz, Terry Solis
- Kevin Mansell, 64 Chairman, CEO & President; Kohl’s Corp.
Kohl’s shoe departments got a style boost with the addition of the Stride Rite and Under Armour brands. The retailer also partnered with Reed Krakoff to launch a handbag line. As part of an unconventional strategy to spur growth, Mansell powered ahead on plans to roll out new, smaller-format doors, two Off-Aisle clearance centers and 12 Fila outlets.
POWER PLAYERS: Michelle Gass, Chris Candee
- Bruce Rockowitz, 57 CEO & Vice Chairman; Global Brands Group Holding Ltd.
Rockowitz’s firm turned up the star power, signing Katy Perry for a range of products including footwear. It also forged a joint venture with Hollywood giant Creative Artists Agency. The group’s Frye brand introduced its Modern Icons collection and planted three new stores, with four more locations slated by next spring. Aquatalia refreshed its website and bowed a shop on New York’s Madison Avenue.
POWER PLAYERS: Adrienne Lazarus, Jim Gabriel
- Bob Goldman, 74 CEO; Chinese Laundry
After 35 years of success, Goldman’s Chinese Laundry brand is hardly resting on its laurels. To stay relevant with fast-moving millennials, the label kicked off a multimillion-dollar rebranding effort that includes an updated logo, product, packaging, store design and website. The company also reupped its partnership with Kristin Cavallari for another five years.
POWER PLAYERS: Tsering Namgyal, Stewart Goldman
- Jim Issler, 68 President & CEO; H.H. Brown Shoe Co.
The seasoned exec, who expanded his industry role by serving as chairman of FFANY, kept things steady. Comfortiva, a line of women’s fashion-comfort looks, launched under the Sofft Shoe Co. division. And Issler’s firm welcomed Justin Brands Inc., known for its work and Western footwear, as an operating division under its umbrella.
POWER PLAYERS: Tom McClaskie, David Issler, Victor Sanders
- Dave Powers, 50 President & CEO; Deckers Brands
Powers took the helm in May, following longtime leader Angel Martinez’s retirement, and he hasn’t missed a beat. The firm’s powerhouse Ugg franchise was busier than ever, opening two flagships, signing Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as its women’s ambassador and unveiling the new Classic II boot. The brand also went to battle over knockoffs, launching eight lawsuits. Teva, meanwhile, debuted a collab with singer Jhené Aiko and a cool hybrid collection with Ugg.
POWER PLAYERS: Stefano Caroti, Andrea O’Donnell, Wendy Yang
- Kenneth Cole, 62 Chairman & Chief Creative Officer; Kenneth Cole Productions Inc.
Cole has global expansion on his mind. The designer partnered with Belgium-based LF Brands to launch his collections in seven European countries this fall, and he forged an alliance with Sitoy Retailing Ltd. to bring his brand back to China. To sharpen his focus on footwear, he opted to license his handbag and apparel businesses to Global Brands Group.
POWER PLAYERS: Marc Schneider, Roberto Zamarra, Greg Tarbell
- Pierre Hardy, 60 President; Pierre Hardy
The business received extra support this year; Hermès Group now has a minority stake in the brand. (Hardy has been designing footwear for the label since 1990.) Hardy opened up shop in Tokyo this year, his first boutique in Japan and third in the world, and relaunched his U.S. e-commerce site with exclusive online styles.
- Blake Mycoskie, 40 Founder & Chief Shoe Giver; Toms Shoes
The once-tiny feel-good idea hit the decade mark, which led Mycoskie to ponder where the company and its social movement heads next. He’s set up a $150 million fund to back other social entrepreneurs, investing in virtual reality (again partnering with AT&T, the company that made him famous) and considering taking Toms public.
POWER PLAYER: Jim Alling
- Giuseppe Zanotti, 59 President & Creative Director; Giuseppe Zanotti Design
It was a star-studded year for the designer, who announced powerful celebrity collaborations with Jennifer Lopez and Zayn Malik. In May, Zanotti launched the Giuseppe Junior children’s line of sneakers. Moscow and London locations opened recently, bringing Zanotti’s store count to more than 100.
POWER PLAYER: Alain Baum
42 (Tie). Brian Cornell, 57 Chairman & CEO; Target Corp.
Target doubled down on the kids’ business, debuting Cat & Jack for back-to-school. Already ringing up double-digit sales, it’s poised to be the chain’s biggest-ever house brand. Other launches included a Marimekko collaboration and exclusive Superga and Dolce Vita shoe offerings. A revamp of Target’s mobile and online sites drove a 16 percent jump in digital sales in Q2.
POWER PLAYERS: Mark Tritton, Michelle Wlazlo
42 (Tie). Massimo Ferragamo, 59 Vincent Ottomanelli, 50 Chairman; President; Ferragamo USA
The house offset the departure of women’s wear designer Massimiliano Giornetti by appointing Paul Andrew as design director of women’s footwear. Profits were up 2.3 percent in the year’s first half thanks to growth in Japan and the Americas; the brand’s third Las Vegas boutique opened last month, inside the Wynn hotel.
POWER PLAYERS: Andrew, Ferruccio Ferragamo
- Gianvito Rossi, 49 Designer & CEO; Gianvito Rossi
The designer is riding an anniversary high, celebrating 10 years in 2016. To mark the occasion, Rossi designed whimsical special anniversary styles, inspired by cocktails. The label will soon open its second store in the U.S., adding Miami to the existing New York City location.
44 (Tie) Neil Clifford, CEO, Kurt Geiger
The deal-making executive continues to engineer major growth under Cinven, Kurt Geiger’s new private-equity owners. In fact, the company saw profits double in 2015, according to results released earlier this month. Clifford, a master multitasker, fueled shoe expansion at Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty, among others. He and his team also tapped into fresh opportunities for the burgeoning private label business. Under the direction of creative and buying director Rebecca Farrar-Hockley, Kurt Geiger debuted its first branded collection for girls, Mini Miss KG, earlier this year.
POWER PLAYER: Farrar-Hockley
44 (Tie) Michael Kors, 57 Honorary Chairman, Chief Creative Officer & Director; Michael Kors
Kors made a big splash across the pond, opening his largest European flagship to date on London’s Regent Street, while back in New York, he unveiled an experimental retail concept, The Kors Edit. The designer also joined the wearable-tech wave, launching a smartwatch collection with the help of campaign stars Zendaya and Martha Hunt.
POWER PLAYERS: John Idol, Anna Bakst
- Peter Harris, 53 President; Pedder Group
As the retailer adapted to changes in the Asian market, it made a move into e-commerce with Onpedder.com, which offers a curated mix of luxury brands. The company also racked up buzz this spring with its Chanel Airlines pop-up at Pedder on Scotts in Singapore. This fall, the group also launched “The Sneaker Room” at Lane Crawford in Hong Kong to tap into the hot athletic market.
POWER PLAYERS: Carmen Cheng, Su Kim
- Danny Schwartz, 63 CEO; Schwartz & Benjamin Inc.
The licensing firm continued to strengthen, led by double-digit footwear sales growth at Kate Spade New York in 2016. The firm tapped Daniela Martorana as president of global sales for Kate Spade. In August, the firm unveiled two lines, the Avec Les Filles Collection and Story by Joyce Azria, to strong retail support.
POWER PLAYERS: Barbara Schwartz, Steve Shapiro
- Mike George, 55 President & CEO; QVC
QVC turned 30 in 2016 and added popular brand C.Wonder under the creative direction of Brad Goreski. The firm expanded its presence in Asia, appointing Gregg Bertoni to CEO of CNR Mall, QVC’s joint venture with China National Radio. QVC also announced it was opening a 1-million-sq.-ft. distribution center in Ontario, Calif., in August, creating 1,000 jobs for the community.
POWER PLAYERS: Doug Howe, Ken O’Brien, Rachel Ungaro
- R. Stephen Rubin, 78 Andy Rubin, 51 Chairman; Pentland Group Plc.; Chairman; Pentland Brands Plc.
The Rubins captured U.S. market share through two of Pentland’s top performing brands: Ted Baker and Lacoste. Ted Baker opened its first U.S. shoe showroom, and its footwear sales grew over 40 percent year-over-year. Lacoste opened shop in the prestigious Westfield World Trade Center in New York. Notably, the Speedo brand cut ties with Ryan Lochte after he fabricated a robbery at the Rio Olympics.
POWER PLAYERS: Carrie Rubin, Andy Long, Dave Grange, John Williams
- Charlotte Olympia Dellal, 35 Creative Director & Founder; Charlotte Olympia
Creative collaborations were fruitful for the brand, which celebrated five global partnerships across different catego- ries: Agent Provocateur, Havaianas, Mac Cosmetics, Bodyism Activewear and Barbie. At London Fashion Week, the designer made a spring ’17 splash with her Let’s Go Bananas collection presentation. A shop opened in Moscow this year, bringing the brand’s total to 11 stores.
POWER PLAYER: Bonnie Takhar
- Edward Stack, 61 Chairman & CEO; Dick’s Sporting Goods
As a troubled sporting goods landscape took down some of the industry’s top dogs, Stack swooped in to capitalize on new opportunities. Snapping up bankrupt Sports Authority’s intellectual property, the CEO sought to set Dick’s up for unprecedented future growth. Liquidation sales pressured the firm briefly this year, but the company handily topped Q2 estimates, with sales of $2 billion.
- Victor Luis, 50 CEO; Coach Inc.
The Coach brand turned a corner in North America with comps advancing in Q4 and full-year sales growing 7 percent. Stuart Weitzman’s brand named Wendy Kahn as CEO and incoming Giovanni Morelli as creative head. Coach hosted its first New York Fashion Week runway show in September and bows its Coach House retail concept next month.
POWER PLAYERS: Stuart Weitzman, Stuart Vevers, Kahn, Susan Duffy
- Stefan Kaluzny, 49 Managing Partner & Co-Founder; Sycamore Partners
Kaluzny had his hands full managing a lot of moving parts this year. The end of 2015 saw the sale of Kurt Geiger to Cinven and the CEO of Sycamore’s newly acquired Belk Inc. stepped down, bringing to an end 130 years of family leadership for the retail chain. Meanwhile, Kaluzny fought off accusations that Sycamore was to blame for Aéropostale Inc.’s bankruptcy and was ultimately outbid when he attempted to buy the cash-strapped chain.
- Ralph Lauren, 77 Executive Chairman & Chief Creative Officer; Ralph Lauren Corp.
The firm continued an aggressive turnaround effort this year, cutting 1,000 jobs and closing 50 stores, with much support from Wall Street. The company outfitted the U.S. Olympic Team and presented a shoppable spring ’17 collection in a new prime-time spot at fashion week. Footwear head Joel Oblonsky exited in September.
POWER PLAYERS: Stefan Larsson, Valérie Hermann, David Lauren
- Ernie Herrman, 55 CEO; The TJX Companies Inc.
The off-price retailer has bucked sluggish spending trends in 2016, posting sales of $15.4 billion in the first half of the year. Under Herrman, it continues to be a favorite with analysts. The company operates 3,675 stores globally and outlined plans in August to expand store count to as many as 5,600 doors. Herrman was promoted from president to CEO on Jan. 31, after longtime leader Carol Meyrowitz stepped down and became executive chairman.
- Marvin Ellison, 51 Chairman & CEO; J.C. Penney & Company Inc.
Ellison refocused the retailer on omnichannel and announced plans for 70 percent of all merchandise sales to come from private label brands by 2019. Shoes were a top performer for the store in Q2, especially women’s, which grew thanks in part to an open sale format. The firm celebrated 10 years of its Sephora partnership by announcing 60 new shop-in-shops.
POWER PLAYERS: Jodie Johnson, Michael Amend
- Jerry Stritzke, 56 CEO & President; REI Inc.
REI’s big 2016 news involved plans to solidify East Coast business for years to come. In February, it announced a schedule for New York and Florida store openings in fall ’16 and spring ’17, respectively. Even further into the future is the relocation of its HQ, announced in September and scheduled to open in Bellevue, Wash., in 2020.
- Pierpaolo Piccioli, 49 Creative Director; Valentino
Following co-creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri’s departure for Christian Dior this year, he took over as the sole design force, debuting Valentino’s new look. His first imprint included the launch of a new Rockstud Spike bag and campaign. The label’s Stripe sneaker continues to be a hot buy with retailers.
POWER PLAYER: Stefano Sassi
- Marc Jacobs, 53 Co-Founder & Creative Director; Marc Jacobs International
“Go big or go home” might as well be Jacobs’ motto this year. The designer showed dramatic platforms for fall ’16 and spring ’17, matching the extravagance of his runway shows. Also known for his striking ads, he cast an eclectic group for his fall campaign including rapper Missy Elliott, model Kendall Jenner and actress Susan Sarandon.
- John Varvatos, 62 Chairman & Chief Creative Officer; John Varvatos Enterprises
This year, Varvatos continued to expand his retail presence with major store openings in Moscow in March and in the new World Trade Center Oculus in New York in August. Staying true to his signature rock ’n’ roll aesthetic, Varvatos looked to Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Hozier for his fall ’16 ad campaign.
60 (Tie). Jim Weber, 56 CEO & President; Brooks Sports
Runners and sneakerheads continued to buy Brooks in 2016, including key performance franchise updates and must-have collabs (Bait, 24 Kilates). But Weber also launched Brooks’ first TV commercial (titled “The Rundead”) and a new marketing campaign (“Live the Way You Run. Run Happy”). Additionally, Brooks sent its decathlon star Jeremy Taiwo to compete in Rio.
60 (Tie). Millard “Mickey” Drexler, 72 Chairman & CEO; J.Crew Group Inc.
Drexler’s aggressive tactics are beginning to bear fruit for J.Crew. In the first half of 2016, the company narrowed its net loss to $16.7 million from $476 million last year. The value-driven Madewell business has been a bright spot, and the firm is opening more locations for its lower-cost Mercantile format.
POWER PLAYERS: Jenna Lyons, Libby Wadle
- Jack Ma, 52 Founder & Executive Chairman; Alibaba Group
Revving up his plans to rebrand China and solidify Alibaba’s e-commerce dominance, Ma forged new partnerships with the Canadian government and Stadium Goods this year. Q2 brought mega mobile growth, and Alibaba revenues climbed 59 percent, to $4.8 billion. With its share price nearly doubling in the past seven months, despite looming counterfeiting accusations, Alibaba isn’t going away any time soon.
POWER PLAYERS: Daniel Zhang, Joe Tsai, Michael Evans
- Alexandre Café Birman, 40 CEO & Creative Director; Arezzo & Co.
The designer is focusing on global expansion, specifically for his lower-priced label, Schutz. The core brand’s Clarita sandals continue to gain momentum, as celebrities wear the style on the red carpet and Birman hosts successful events at department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman. Net-a-Porter and Matches Fashion were added as accounts.
POWER PLAYER: Johanna Stein Birman
63. Oliver Reichert, 45 Markus Bensberg, 52 Co-CEOS; Birkenstock Group
Birkenstock for the first time has a U.S.-based design and merchandising team that includes the appointment of Karen Ruinitz as designer and creative director, and Jacqueline Van Dine as VP of product and merchandising. New York became the stage for a mega fall ad campaign on buses and billboards showcasing its new sock collection. In 2017, the brand will open a design center and showroom in New York’s Soho.
POWER PLAYERS: David Kahan, Dieter Klingenberg, Yvonne Piu
- Karl-Johan Persson, 41 CEO; H&M Group
The company’s first-half sales were hit by unseasonable weather and international events that kept shoppers at home. H&M opened its first stores in New Zealand and Cyprus in 2016, and announced its annual designer collaboration with Kenzo. Persson doubled down on sustainability with a partnership with the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel to identify new ways to recycle fabrics and created a children’s collection benefitting the WWF.
65 (Tie). Dieter Kasprzak, 66 CEO; Ecco SKO
In a management shift, former CFO Steen Borgholm was named deputy CEO. The Danish company continues its celebrity connection with brand ambassadors, Chinese actress Lio Tao and golfers Fred Couples and Ernie Els. Its commitment to the golf category will continue with the Q1 launch of performance looks featuring GoreTex Surround technology.
POWER PLAYERS: Dave Quel, Michel Krol
65 (Tie). Sophia Webster, 31 Founder & Creative Director; Sophia Webster Ltd.
Webster’s star continues to rise with a big British Fashion Council/Vogue Fashion Fund win this year. The designer capitalized on that momentum by launching handbags, and opening the brand’s first flagship store on Mount Street in London’s Mayfair neighborhood. The e-commerce site was also renovated, and online business continues to double year-over-year.
POWER PLAYER: Bobby Stockley
- Mandy Cabot, 62 CEO & Founder; Dansko
After serving at the company’s helm since 1990, Cabot turned over the president role to veteran insider Jim Fox and named Tiss Dahan VP of marketing. The brand is staking a claim in men’s with the fall launch of casual comfort styles that include chukkas and athletic-inspired looks.
POWER PLAYERS: Peter Kjellerup, Mimi Curry
- Yehuda Shmidman, 35 CEO; Sequential Brands Group Inc.
Headline-making power moves continued for Shmidman, who launched fashion athletic footwear for Jessica Simpson’s label and added yoga brand Gaiam Inc. to Sequential’s portfolio in 2016. In another move, the CEO unified his stable of brands under one roof — Martha Stewart’s massive headquarters in New York — to tap new synergies. The payoff? Q2 revenues skyrocketed nearly 70 percent, to $34.2 million.
POWER PLAYERS: Eddie Esses, Rick Platt, Jameel Spencer, Andrew Cooper
- David Miller, 60 Scott Sessa, 57 CEO; President; Minnetonka Moccasin Co.
The company marked its 70th anniversary with the P.W. Driving moc, a custom-made style inspired by its founder, Philip W. Miller. Keeping it all in the family, his granddaughter, Jori Miller, assumed the new role of VP of product development. Based on the success of the Rebecca Minkoff x Minnetonka collection, it will continue into 2017.
POWER PLAYER: Toni Nelson
69 (Tie). Isabel Marant, 49 Owner & Designer; Isabel Marant
Isabel Marant once had the exclusivity of a label for chic French girls, but the designer continues to make her mark on global shoppers with a second store in New York, and new locations in Tokyo and Macau. Marant also tapped American model-of-the-moment and social media sensation Gigi Hadid to open her spring ’17 show.
69 (Tie). GregTunney, 55 President & CEO; RG Barry Brands
Under Tunney, iconic slipper brand Dearfoams got an updated look for fall, complete with packaging and creative. Sister brand Baggallini expanded its reach with the addition of shop-in-shops. Looking ahead to next fall, Foot Petals is adding active-casual footwear with a new comfort technology, Cushioning, Powered by Technogel.
POWER PLAYERS: Lee Smith, Jeff Cosgrove, Alan Krantzler
- Edgardo Osorio, 30 Founder & Creative Director; Aquazzura
The buzzy brand boosted its position this year with high-profile collaborations with Naty Abascal and Poppy Delevingne. Osorio opened Aquazzura shops on Madison Avenue in New York City and in Bal Harbour in Florida. Internationally, the brand expanded its presence in Moscow, Hong Kong and in Toronto at Holt Renfrew.
POWER PLAYER: Ricardo D’Almeida Figueiredo
- Tabitha Simmons, 45 Founder & Designer; Tabitha Simmons
After refocusing her business last year, with lower price points and product designed to drive sales, Simmons is working to grow the brand. At Paris Fashion Week, she presented embroidered linens, denim fabrications, crocheted lace and a wider variety of heel heights for spring ’17.
- Ezra Dabah, 63 CEO; Nina Footwear Corp.
Nina and Nina Originals expanded distribution into Europe, Asia and the Middle East, with kids following next spring. The kids’ division continued to grow with the addition of Mobility, a collection of first walker shoes. To promote its popular bridal offering, a fall ad campaign launched in bridal publications.
POWER PLAYERS: Alan Johnson, Nina Miner, Flori Silverstein
- Joe Ouaknine, 63 CEO; Titan Industries
The firm has a new roster this year, led by a relaunch with fashion it-girl Zendaya’s line, Daya by Zendaya. After eliminating licenses for L.A.M.B, Joe’s Jeans and Cynthia Vincent, Titan acquired Badgley Mischka for $16 million and is set to launch Jewel Badgley Mischka shoes for spring ’17. A licensing deal was also signed with Splendid.
POWER PLAYER: Brad Bailey
74 (Tie). Gary Champion, 63 President; Clarks Americas
The U.K.-based company filled two top spots. Mike Shearwood was named CEO, and Champion rejoined the company after exiting in 2008, this time in the top slot, replacing Geralyn Breig. Since his return, Champion has rebuilt relationships with independents, reintroduced premium products and oversaw the relocation of its U.S. headquarters to a state-of-the-art facility in Waltham, Mass.
POWER PLAYERS: Joe Casagrande, Tara McRae
74 (Tie). Gene McCarthy, 60 President & CEO; Asics Americas
In McCarthy’s first full year, Asics introduced styles and technologies to satisfy avid runners and younger consumers. The fashion-meets-function FuzeX arrived in January, and its FlytFoam midsole adorned multiple key performance runners. It also acquired fitness tracking app RunKeeper and produced an acclaimed Gel Lyte III in collaboration with Pensole Design Academy and Foot Locker.
POWER PLAYERS: Andrew Richard, Roeya Vaughan
- Truman Kim, 51 Chairman; K-Swiss Global Brands
Acquisitions defined K-Swiss in 2015, and executive movement defined 2016. In January, president and CEO of Global Brands Larry Remington retired, and Barney Waters became the president of its namesake brand. The next month, Palladium had a new president: Christophe Mortemousque. Its HQ is also on the move: By January, the KSGB home will be the historic Pac Mutual Building in downtown Los Angeles.
POWER PLAYERS: Waters, Robert Capener
76 (Tie). Kanye West, 39 Designer; Kanye West
Following his Shoe of the Year win for the Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 sneaker at FN’s Achievement Awards in December, West further solidified his partnership with the German giant in June. The rapper and athletic brand inked a long-term deal that includes plans to expand beyond the lifestyle focus into performance gear; a Yeezy Boost 350 football cleat was released in September.
POWER PLAYERS: Virgil Abloh, Jon Wexler
76 (Tie). William T. Dillard II, 71 Chairman & CEO; Dillard’s Inc.
Like other Southern stores, the Dillard’s shopper felt the pressure from oil-price declines in 2016. The retailer posted drops in sales during the first part of the year in all categories, but women’s apparel and accessories continued to be a top performer. Analysts praised the retailer for managing debt and buying back outstanding shares.
POWER PLAYERS: Alex Dillard, Mike Dillard
- Jack Silvera, 73 Founder & CEO; Dynasty Footwear
Silvera continues to build his company’s portfolio. The Seychelles Footwear division has been broadening its presence with better boutiques and specialty stores. Most notable is the growth of its Liendo label, sold exclusively at Anthropologie. Dynasty also launched the London Underground line of rugged casuals for spring ’17, to tap into the exploding sneaker category.
POWER PLAYERS: Gabriel Morales, Sari Ratsula
- Patrick Chalhoub, 58 Co-CEO; Chalhoub Group
Chalhoub tapped into the hot children’s market with a new store, Level Kids, featuring more than 200 brands and 10,000 square feet. The kids’ emporium features some flashy amenities — a spa, photo studio, birthday party space, play area and two restaurants. Level Shoes also continues to team up with buzzy designers on exclusive collaborations. The lineup this year included Sophia Webster, Burberry, Brian Atwood, Francesco Russo, Tabitha Simmons and Mary Katrantzou.
POWER PLAYER: Rania Masri
- Rebecca Minkoff, 35 Uri Minkoff, 41 Co-founder & Creative Director; Co-founder & CEO; Rebecca Minkoff
The brother-sister team continues to lead the way when it comes to technology in fashion. At Rebecca Minkoff’s see-now, buy-now runway show at New York Fashion Week in September — staged on the street in front of her Soho store — the Minkoffs used augmented reality to allow customers around the world to see how the collection would fit.
- Federico Marchetti, 47 CEO; Yoox Net-a-Porter Group
The YNAP Group continues to perform with pro-forma revenues for 2015 rising 30.9 percent, to $1.8 billion, and sales up 21 percent. A partnership with IBM to develop a shared technology platform promises to further streamline integration, while a $113 million investment from Alabbar Enterprises is set to accelerate growth in the Middle East.
POWER PLAYERS: Alison Loehnis, Alberto Grignolo, Sarah Rutson
- Paul Andrew, 37 President & Chief Creative Officer; Paul Andrew
Andrew marked a major move, stepping in as design director of women’s footwear at iconic fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo. The acknowledgements continued for Andrew: He received the Swarovski Award for Accessory Design at the CFDAs in June and won an ACE Award for brand launch. He also added a men’s collection to his mix.
82 (Tie). Mario Polegato, 64 Chairman; Geox S.p.A.
Consolidated net sales for the first half of 2106 were up 5.5 percent over 2015, while footwear sales rose 5.1 percent. Contributing to growth was the launch of Nebula, a series of styles featuring the next generation of the Geox’s signature breathability technology.
POWER PLAYERS: Enrico Polegato, Giorgio Presca, Tracy Smith
82 (Tie). Gene Yoon, 71 Jon Epstein, 61 Global Chairman & CEO; Fila; President; Fila North America
Fila had a resurgence in 2016, relying heavily on its heritage to become a consumer favorite. The label employed rap legend Nas to curate a “Ghostbusters”-themed collection, and delivered several must-have collabs (Sweet Chick, Alumni). But athleisure alone didn’t bolster Fila’s year; the execs also signed tennis standout John Isner.
- Pat Mooney, 47 President; Footwear Unlimited Inc.
This year, the firm added women’s active line Zibu, which bowed at JCPenney doors. Baretraps unveiled a technology called Rebound to strong retail response. And e-commerce was expanded to include drop-ship capabilities, as social media was moved in-house for both Baretraps and Latigo, putting a larger focus on conversations with consumers.
POWER PLAYERS: John Rimmer, Bill Downey, Andy Smith
- Paul Jones, 55 CEO; Payless ShoeSource Inc.
With Jones at the top, Payless is fine-tuning its retail plan. As it ramps up its digital reach, which includes rolling out buy online/pick up in store, the retailer revealed that it will shutter between 350 and 500 stores within the next three years. Jones continues to bet big on the superstore concept, doubling the number of doors for the larger format store to more than 60 this year.
POWER PLAYERS: Steve Gish, Ginny Peterson, Mike Vitelli
- Cliff Sifford, 63 CEO & President; Shoe Carnival
Like its peers in the family channel, Shoe Carnival faced tough comps and slow sales in Q2, missing Wall Street expectations. Still, Sifford is focused on executing the firm’s multichannel plan and returning value through share repurchases and consistent dividend payments.
POWER PLAYERS: Wayne Weaver, Carl Scibetta
- Tim Boyle, 67 CEO; Columbia Sportswear Co.
After a record 2015, Columbia’s first half of 2016 was lackluster. Its Q2 $388.8 million revenue missed its $392 million forecast. And the quarter’s 12.5 percent inventory growth outpaced its 2.2 percent sales growth. But Columbia announced two moves to stimulate 2017’s business: realigning its Montrail banner to Columbia Montrail and repositioning Sorel to a year-round, fashion-focused label for women.
POWER PLAYERS: Bryan Timm, Joe Boyle
- Paul Grangaard, 58 President, CEO; Allen Edmonds
Consumers have even more places to shop series with the opening of 14 new stores in the U.S. this year. E-commerce was also up, posting increases of 20 percent. The Redefined Dress collection of updated Goodyear welted looks debuted, rounded out with expanded belt, bag and apparel collections.
POWER PLAYERS: Cindy Holker, Ross Widmoyer, Colin Hall, Jim Klass
88 (Tie). Marcio Moura, 45 Carla Schmitzberger, 54 President; Global Head of Sandals Division; Alpargatas USA
London came calling for the flip-flop maker, which bowed a flagship in the city’s Westfield mall and released buzzy collaborations with local labels Liberty and Charlotte Olympia. Here in the States, three shops debuted at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts, and a new World Trade Center location is set to open next year.
88 (Tie). Thomas Florsheim Jr., 58 John Florsheim, 53 Chairman & CEO; President & COO; Weyco Group Inc.
Despite a dip in Q2 net earnings, the company continued to expand its retail footprint with the opening of its first street location in Paris, rounding out additional store openings in New South Wales, Australia, Miami and Santiago, Chile. To support the relaunch of its Bogs work product in 2017, the Florsheims named Kevin Kious president of Utility.
POWER PLAYERS: Brian Flannery, Kevin Schiff, Mike Bernsteen, Dustin Combs
- Vincent Wauters, 44 CEO; Hunter Boot LTD.
Wauters took the CEO reins, previously serving as president of Arc’teryx. He was just in time to witness the brand hit a milestone: $1 million in U.S. online sales in a single day. To make it easier to find key looks such as its new Refined series and Original Chelsea, Hunter is expanding its retail footprint with its second Tokyo flagship.
POWER PLAYERS: Alasdhair Willis, Wendy Svarre
- Bernard Leifer, 71 President & CEO; SG Cos.
The long-serving chief is passing the leadership baton to Matt Feiner and plans to step into a chairman role in 2017. The handoff comes at a good time, as Leifer’s licensing house landed a slew of new deals, including athletic label Pro Player (for seasonal footwear) and kids’ brand PJ Masks and Teletubbies. Next year, SG will launch collections for the theatrical releases of “Power Rangers,” “Despicable Me 3,” and several Marvel franchises.
POWER PLAYERS: Feiner, Elisa Gangi, Tom Zito
- Marcia Kilgore, 49 Founder; FitFlop
Simon Wright was appointed to the dual position of CFO and COO as the company experienced an 11 percent uptick in sales over last year, with a forecast to pass the $200 million mark in 2017. The launch of a full-blown sneaker collection, rounding out its iconic sandal offering, contributed to the solid sales. And it didn’t hurt business any that supermodel sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid walked the runway at Anna Sui’s fall show in FitFlop platforms.
POWER PLAYERS: Michael Lockett, Shubhankar Ray, Kelly Dumpson
- Gregg Ribatt, 48 CEO; Crocs Inc.
Crocs stole the spotlight at fall’s London Fashion Week as Christopher Kane sent his take on the iconic clog down the runway, likely to help bolster Q2 revenues that fell 6.3 percent year-over-year. Further re-energizing the brand was the launch of #FindYourFun, a global TV and digital campaign, in addition to Crocs@Prom and #rockwhitecrocs, teen-driven initiatives featuring celebs Ashley Benson and Bailee Madison.
POWER PLAYERS: Andrew Rees, Carrie Teffner, Michelle Poole
- Michael Katz, 65 CEO & President; Matisse Footwear
The California label expanded its overseas presence, moving into Australia, Israel and the U.K. A companion collection of Spanish-made leather handbags debuted in July, followed by belts for fall. Next year, Katz will release a shoe collaboration with beach-chic brand Amuse Society.
POWER PLAYER: Sheena Parks
94 (Tie). Chris Gallagher, 47 CEO; Vionic Group
The company tapped former Ugg boss Connie Rishwain as president, overseeing product, sales and marketing in the U.S. and abroad. She joins an already profitable company that’s cracked the $100 million mark in revenues via sales through existing retail accounts such as Shoebuy.com, Zappos.com and Comfort One, as well as new partners REI and Athleta.
POWER PLAYERS: Bruce Campbell, Steve Mabb, Rishwain
94 (Tie). Bruce Cagner, 70 Evan Cagner, 43 Chairman; President & CEO; Synclaire Brands
As their children’s branded house celebrated its 10th anniversary, the father-son duo kept the big deals coming — among them, the licenses for Badgley Mischka, Frye and Pro Player. To keep up with the growth, the firm’s New York headquarters was expanded. On the digital front, Synclaire launched a savvy mobile app, allowing retailers to place replenishment and future orders.
- Jamie Salter, 53 Nick Woodhouse, 48 Chairman & CEO; President & CMO; Authentic Brands Group
ABG is becoming a formidable force in the footwear and apparel space — unveiling an influencer campaign and revamped collection for Tretorn’s 125th anniversary, under new licensee Marc Fisher, and bringing back teen retailer Aéropostale Inc. from the brink of bankruptcy as one-third of a consortium that swooped in with a last-minute buy. Juicy Couture, Jones New York and Air Walk are among the other brands in the firm’s arsenal.
POWER PLAYERS: Chris Farrell, Kevin Clarke
- Michael Gionfriddo, 64 CEO & President; Vibram USA
In its 100th year, Vibram continued to make strides with its outdoor and workboot favorite outsoles. At Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in January, the company introduced its Arctic Grip compound (with its one-year Wolverine exclusivity). Vibram also invested $6 million in renovations to its North Brookfield, Mass., factory.
- Michael Muskat, 69 Rick Muskat, 65 President; EVP; Deer Stags Concepts Inc.
Sales are on a slight rise for the Muskat family, thanks to an increase in brick-and-mortar accounts as well as product expansion in existing retailers. Under Rick Muskat’s tenure as FDRA chairman, the organization launched a podcast series, Shoe In.
POWER PLAYERS: Danny Muskat, Brian Leitner
98 (Tie). Mark Schwartz, 58
CEO; Palladin Consumer Retail Partners
Since scooping up Aerosoles and Harrys of London in 2014, the private-equity firm has been busy expanding the footwear labels. Bolstered by several key new hires, Aerosoles rolled out a “Fashion Feels Good” initiative across its product design, sourcing and marketing platforms. Harrys broadened its distribution in the U.S, Europe and the Middle East and introduced luggage and accessories collections.
POWER PLAYERS: Shawn Neville, Steven Newey
98 (Tie). Mike Shirey, 44 CEO; Highline United
The firm underwent reconstruction in 2016, dropping ties with French Connection and Ellen Tracy. Highline is focusing on contemporary brand Ash, and Tahari showed growth in Q4. To propel the business forward after a rocky start to the year, Shirey is focusing on speed to market design and manufacturing as a key platform.
POWER PLAYER: Rob Perschino
99. Don Weiss, 60 Stephen Hoyt, 69 Owner & President; Owner & Head of Design; Blowfish Malibu
The duo joined the sport-centric craze, debuting a sneaker line at FN Platform. Designer Jannie Denney was hired to oversee the division. Handbags are also on deck for spring ’17. The kids division continues to grow, and the juniors’ brand expects business to be up 15 percent over last year.
POWER PLAYER: Greg Kearns
100. Cathy Taylor, 59 CEO & President; Millennial Brands
The executive is continuing to shape her newly formed company, launched last year. Under new design direction, Pour La Victoire found strong shelf space in top accounts such as Nordstrom and Bloomingdales, while Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn sits at Nordstrom and DSW. Core brand Rocket Dog is playing up what it does well: casual styles.