Coach CEO Joshua Schulman on Big 2025 Goals, Partnering with Michael B. Jordan and a New Collab With Tabitha Simmons

Coach may have a 78-year legacy in American goods, but today it’s looking more to the future — 2025, to be specific — as the year in which it will execute a set number of goals on sustainability, diversity, community and charity initiatives, brand president and CEO Joshua Schulman outlined on Monday at FN’s 2019 CEO Summit.

“How can we look at our employee population and ensure that 60 percent of our VP-and-above promotions are actually internal? Many people come to a company like Tapestry thinking about how they can have a career progression ” said Schulman in detailing Coach’s nearly five-year plan, which was announced on April 22 — Earth Day — as part of its parent company’s overall initiative.

He also pointed to improving diversity both companywide and within leadership teams, giving back $75 million in financial and production donations in the time period, reducing both Scope 2 and Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent each from the brand’s 2017 baseline and employing a 95 percent traceability in its leather goods supply chains.

Josh Schulman FN CEO Summit
Josh Schulman sat down with FN executive editor Katie Abel at the FN Summit today.
CREDIT: Johan Cruz

“We are able to trace where the leather comes from and make decisions on that. For example, we do not acquire cow leather from the Amazon [because] cattle ranchers are responsible for the deforestation there,” said Schulman. “By having that traceability, we have more visibility into the environmental impact that we are making on the world.”

Schulman also gave insight as to how Coach’s “Words Matter” campaign, which debuted in February with spokesperson Michael B. Jordan in a Spike Lee-directed video, came to fruition. The CEO and his team was in the midst of negotiating a partnership with the actor when Tapestry CEO Victor Luis had a chance meeting with the filmmaker on a JetBlue flight from Los Angeles to New York. Luis asked Schulman if they would ever collaborate with Lee, and Coach brought the idea to Jordan. “It’s a great example of showcasing both Michael B. Jordan’s great style and also what he stands for,” said Schulman. “We were able to start a conversation on [why] words matter and open ourselves up to engaging digital engagement with consumers who contributed their stories on why words matter.”

The brand president and CEO also managed to break a bit of collaboration news during the talk, announcing an upcoming capsule with shoe designer Tabitha Simmons.

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