FN Power List 2019: The Business Titans

They make deals, build buzz and are often at the heart of the industry’s most impactful moves.

Here are the industry titans.

See who else made the FN Power List 2019:
The Dramatic Makeover
The Independents
The Tastemakers
The Dynasties
On the Rise
The Guiding Forces
The Conversation Starters
The Design Stars
The Retail Innovators
The Shoe Dogs
The Business Titans
The Influentials

Bernard Arnault, 70
Chairman & CEO, LVMH Inc.

LVMH bet on women-run fashion houses this year, partnering with Rihanna to launch Fenty, joining forces with Stella McCartney and taking a minority stake in Gabriela Hearst’s namesake label. The global luxury house also launched a platform to help consumers trace the authenticity of goods.
Key Execs: Sidney Toledano, Nicolas Ghesquière, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Michael Burke, Nicholas Kirkwood

Eric Artz, 51
CEO & President, REI

Artz took the top spot in May at the $2.78 billion outdoor retailer, helping REI tout eight new store openings, bringing its total doors to 157, including REI’s first “outdoor experience center” in New Hampshire. Sustainability remained top of mind and was woven into the retailer’s brand campaign “Find Out,” which emphasizes the adventures that await in outdoor life.
Key Execs: Rick Bingle, Tim Spangler, Susan Viscon

Richard Baker, 54, Executive Chairman
Helena Foulkes, 55, CEO
Hudson’s Bay Co.

HBC sold off Lord & Taylor and pulled out of its European operations, making Saks Fifth Avenue and Hudson’s Bay the primary focus. The fate of Baker’s June bid to take Hudson’s Bay private for $1.28 billion is unknown, given shareholder pressure that the deal is inadequate. In the latest quarter, Saks Off Fifth showed a 3.4% gain in same-stores sales. At Hudson’s Bay, comps remained down, and the retailer is working to reset its image via a brand reshuffle.
Key Execs: Marc Metrick, Tracy Margolies

Aldo Bensadoun, 80, Founder
David Bensadoun, 49, CEO
Aldo Group

The younger Bensadoun has been making critical moves to diversify the business. The company has unveiled plans for its new licensing division and solidified its leadership position in sustainability. The flagship brand introduced its first eco-friendly sneaker, and the Call It Spring label went fully vegan last spring. In recent months, Aldo Group has inked licensing deals with Rachel Zoe, Who What Wear and Belstaff; more are in the works.
Key Execs: Norman Jaskolka, Jonathan Frankel, Daianara Amalfitano

Jeff Bezos, 55
Chairman, CEO & President, Amazon Inc.

The online behemoth is the subject of a Federal Trade Commission antitrust investigation and missed its profit targets in the most recent quarter, which caused its stock to plunge. Still, Bezos’ juggernaut had its biggest Prime Day after extending the event to two days, and it has begun hiring for its HQ2 in Arlington, Va. In the fashion space, the firm launched Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe to compete in the subscription business.

Power Player: Tony Hsieh and team celebrated Zappos.com’s 20th anniversary by collaborating with top brand partners. The company also prioritized experiential shopping, launching new verticals for kids, luxury and travel.

Tim Boyle, 70
CEO & President, Columbia Sportswear

The brand partnered with Grammy-winning recording artist Zedd to introduce Sh/ft, a line of trail-ready footwear with urban style. In the first six months of the year, sales grew 8% to $91.9 million, and the company plans to expand its Portland, Ore., headquarters by 200,000 square feet by 2021.
Key Execs: Gert Boyle, Joseph Boyle, Shaney Downey, Peter Ruppe

Jack Boys, 62
CEO, Cole Haan

Cole Haan confirmed in August that it is prepping an initial public offering, though timing is still unclear. The brand, owned by private equity firm Apax Partners, released its lightest Grandfoam sneaker in a gender-neutral line, following the launch of a women’s espadrille line called Cloudfeel.
Key Execs: Scott Patt, David Maddocks

Bob Campbell, 82
Chairman & CEO, BBC International

Campbell led BBC’s new partnership with Angel Cabada for the brand Straye. Champion fired on all cylinders and sold millions of slides and more than 1 million pairs of the Rally Pro sneaker. The company continues to work with multiple brands on sourcing and licensed programs.
Key Execs: Donald Wilborn, Josue Solano, Seth Campbell

Silvio Campara, 40
CEO, Golden Goose

Rumors surfaced in September that Golden Goose was for sale. Based in Venice, Italy, the brand is a celebrity favorite. It has been owned by investment firm The Carlyle Group for the past two years, which has helped it expand to 95 stores worldwide. The goal is to reach 32 countries by year-end 2023. The $205 million label opened its first Golden Goose Lab in Milan and expanded to Tokyo, bowing a flagship store there; the brand also plans to launch six capsule collections a year with local Japanese artisans.

Patrick Chalhoub, 62
CEO, Chalhoub Group

After six years in luxury footwear, Level Shoes expanded with the launch of accessories, both in-store and online. It exclusively debuted Gabriela Hearst handbags and launched the “Stylist in Residence” program with the aim of elevating the customer experience. Rania Masri, Chalhoub’s chief transformation officer, reassumed oversight of Level following the departure of GM Thierry Pichon.

Neil Clifford, 52
CEO, Kurt Geiger

The British powerhouse is making moves stateside. After relaunching its namesake Kurt Geiger London footwear brand in the U.S. in 2018, the handbag business is developing rapidly, with a growing presence at Nordstrom. The company is turning its attention to the Carvela label. It signed an exclusive partnership with Dillard’s. For holiday, the department store will carry the footwear and accessories line in 75 locations. The company, which is said to be positioning itself for another acquisition, also opened a Manolo Blahnik shop at Selfridges and continues to expand the men’s business across its luxury retail roster.
Key Execs: Rebecca Farrar-Hockley, Dale Christilaw

Kenneth Cole, 65
Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, Kenneth Cole Productions

The company named Roberto Zamarra to the newly created position of group president of footwear, overseeing the men’s and women’s shoe businesses. Philanthropy has remained top of mind for the designer. In collaboration with Donna Karan’s Urban Zen, the two debuted a capsule collection of made-in-Haiti shoes through his Gentle Souls brand. In October, Cole also launched The Mental Health Coalition.
Key Exec: Marc Schneider

Brian Cornell, 60
Chairman & CEO, Target Corp.

The $75 billion retailer has gone head-to-head with Amazon by beefing up its omnichannel prowess through same-day delivery fulfillment. In a new twist, Target stores will help fulfill Toys R Us online orders this holiday season. Target, with 1,850 stores, has also developed a portfolio of private-label brands and remodeled and opened more stores, including a focus on smaller-format locations.
Key Execs: Mark Tritton, Julie Guggemos, Rick Gomez, Jill Sando

Peter Cowgill, 66
Executive Chairman, JD Sports Fashion PLC

Cowgill’s firm has navigated turbulent times in Britain’s retail industry, which is facing Brexit uncertainty and apprehension in consumer spending. Still, it saw first-half revenues rise on the back of strong positions in fashion athleticwear. What’s more, its 2018 takeover of Finish Line has helped it gain a major foothold in the U.S. sportswear market.
Key Exec: John Hall

Richard Darling, 61
CEO, Global Brands Group

As the firm wades through restructuring efforts with Darling taking the reins from Bruce Rockowitz last October, its fiscal 2019 revenues dipped nearly 5% to $1.6 billion. Nevertheless, Katy Perry’s whimsical line continues to drive buzz for the business, and sustained growth is top of mind for Calvin Klein, Frye, Aquatalia and its other owned and licensed brands.
Key Exec: Jim Gabriel  

Jim Davis, 76, Chairman
Joe Preston, 56, CEO & President
New Balance

Davis and Preston, who took the helm at the Boston-based brand in January, oversaw Kawhi Leonard’s buzzy OMN1S basketball shoe launch and partnership with tennis newcomer Coco Gauff, while the company delved further into 3D printing with its FuelCell Echo Triple shoe. New Balance recently revealed a pizza-based pop-up to coincide with the TCS New York City Marathon.
Key Execs: Anne Davis, Chris Davis

Diego Della Valle, 65
Chairman & CEO, Tod’s Group

While its e-commerce business is growing fast, brick-and-mortar stores, which made up 70% of sales for the first half of the year, remain important to the Italian luxury house. The Tod’s brand opened a boutique in the Shops at Hudson Yards in New York and celebrated a flagship store in Milan. Roger Vivier sales increased 11.6% in the first half, despite an overall decline in the company’s consolidated sales.
Key Execs: Andrea Della Valle, Roberto Lorenzini, Gherardo Felloni

Michael DeVirgilio, 51, President
Cory Baker, 42, COO
Marquee Brands

The executives had Asia on their minds this year, announcing a new division in China to help aid growth prospects there for its Ben Sherman, Bruno Magli, Dakine, BCBG-MaxAzria and BCBGeneration brands. In September, Bruno Magli revealed a new spring line of bridal footwear in collaboration with Ines Di Santo. As for brand acquisitions, Marquee purchased Martha Stewart, Emeril Lagasse and Dakine within the last year.

William Dillard, 74
Chairman & CEO, Dillard’s Inc.

Dillard’s partnered with Britain’s Kurt Geiger to introduce the Carvela brand to the U.S. market this holiday season. The retailer needs the boost: For Q2, earnings and sales missed estimates, due to higher markdowns and soft margins. It also closed three locations this fall, leaving a total of 260 Dillard’s stores and 29 clearance centers.
Key Execs: Alex Dillard, Chris Johnson, Phillip Watts

Marc Fisher, 61
Founder & CEO, Marc Fisher Footwear

With the addition of the Nine West license last year to Marc Fisher’s portfolio, the brand is going through a repositioning of sorts, with help from new face Tyra Banks. Fisher’s other lines, including Marc Fisher LTD and Tretorn, remain steady. Easy Spirit also continues to grow with Evolve, a line of elevated comfort shoes.
Key Exec: Susan Itzkowitz

Michelle Gass, 51
CEO, Kohl’s Corp.

Kohl’s launched a revolutionary policy in July allowing customers to return Amazon-purchased goods at its stores. Another initiative, Curated by Kohl’s, rolled out in October, providing a platform in partnership with Facebook for customers to discover emerging brands; to begin, it launches at more than 50 of the chain’s 1,200 stores.
Key Execs: Ronald Murray, Doug Howe, Marc Chini

Mike George, 58
President & CEO, Qurate Retail Inc.

Marking its 25th anniversary as partner in QVC Presents “FFANY Shoes on Sale,” it has helped raise roughly $57 million for breast cancer research. Inside the company, Leslie Ferraro joined the executive team in the newly created role of president of QxH, Qurate Retail’s largest business unit, including the QVC and HSN brands in the United States.
Key Exec: Greg Maffei

Robert Greenberg, 77, Chairman & CEO
Michael Greenberg, 56, President
Skechers USA Inc.

The Greenbergs marked 20 years on the NYSE with a series of earnings wins and a share price that’s up double digits on international momentum and steady favor with its core demographic. They also tapped new audiences: Skechers showed up on high-fashion runways in London, Berlin, New York, Milan, Moscow and Shanghai. On the home front, the brand broke ground on its corporate HQ expansion in California.
Key Exec: David Weinberg

Bjørn Gulden, 54
CEO, Puma

Under Gulden, Puma continues to become a major player stateside, with 18.1% growth in the first half of the year and the opening of a North American flagship in NYC. The company also inked deals to boost its presence in sports, with NBA rookie RJ Barrett and City Football Group, which will have the brand outfitting six teams, including Manchester City.
Key Execs: Bob Philion, John Miller, Allison Giorgio, Adam Petrick

Pierre Hardy, 63
President, Pierre Hardy

Hardy celebrated his 20th anniversary with a rerelease of 13 archival styles at Barneys New York and a capsule with Lane Crawford. On Pedder, Asia’s leading luxury boutique for designer footwear and accessories, is due next month. He also opened three stores, in New York, Paris and Tokyo, and the label collaborated with former football player Victor Cruz.
Key Exec: Christopher Turnier

Peter Harris, 56
President, Pedder Group

With challenging times in Hong Kong, Harris’ group is focusing on increased e-commerce investment and the partnership component of its business. A December Christian Louboutin opening is planned in Kuala Lumpur, followed by Changsha, China, in 2020, taking the network to 30 points of sale.

Ernie Herrman, 58
President & CEO, TJX Companies

TJMaxx and Marshalls continue to thrive thanks to the “thrill of the hunt” experience, with same-store sales at TJX up 6% to outpace its full-price competitors. This year, Marshalls announced plans to take its business online in an attempt to capture market share in e-commerce at a time when off-price retailers continue to eclipse their department store counterparts.

Marc Jacobs, 56
Co-Founder & Creative Director, Marc Jacobs International

Thirty-three years after founding his eponymous label, Marc Jacobs received MTV’s first Fashion Trailblazer Award — a fitting honor considering he has worked with musicians like Lady Gaga, Missy Elliot, Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj. For next spring, Jacobs will release a collection marked by his signature whimsy and his platforms.

Dick Johnson, 61
Chairman & CEO, Foot Locker Inc.

Analysts were critical of Foot Locker’s first-half performance, with profits missing expectations. The retail giant, however, made moves to ensure its future would be bright, including launching its Greenhouse incubator program, introducing the community-focused Power Stores concept stateside and revealing a new access- and benefit-driven FLX membership program.
Key Execs: Jake Jacobs, Lauren Peters, Pawan Verma

Koichiro Kodama, 54
CEO, Asics U.S.

Kodama became CEO in February and helped the 70-year-old brand focus on performance footwear with the launch of two new running shoes, the Meta-Ride and GlideRide, as part of Asics’ efforts to reinvigorate U.S. operations. As a result, Asics has seen consecutive year-over-year growth. The brand also teamed up with designer Vivienne Westwood, and, in 2020, Asics will be a host member for the Tokyo Olympic Games, as well as a presenting sponsor of the L.A. Marathon.
Key Execs: Richard Sullivan, Kevin McHale, Sean Mannion

Michael Kors, 60, Honorary Chairman & Chief Creative Officer
John Idol, 60, Chairman & CEO
Capri Holdings Ltd.

The leaders of the Michael Kors, Versace and Jimmy Choo luxury brands set their sights on $8 billion in revenues over time. In the first quarter, revenues rose about 12% to $1.35 billion, led by Versace. Jimmy Choo rolled out sneakers, handbags and even hoodies, while at Michael Kors the label focused on returning the brand to growth amid challenges.
Key Execs: Francesca Leoni, Michele Chan, Philippa Newman

Power Players: Choo’s Pierre Denis and Sandra Choi focus on intriguing a younger generation of high-end shoe and handbag lovers, while continuing rapid expansion in the Asian market.

Blake Krueger, 66
President, Chairman & CEO, Wolverine World Wide Inc.

With a sharpened focus on global growth and innovation, Krueger hired Angelo Ng as Wolverine’s first chief merchant officer. The exec also tightened the firm’s digital-direct offense strategy, with its e-commerce business jumping 25% in Q2 on sales of $569 million. Merrell also drove gains and Sperry reversed some sluggishness with flattish growth. On the international front, Krueger is eyeing China and the Asia-Pacific region for expansion.
Key Execs: Mike Stornant, Jim Zwiers, Todd Spaletto, Mike Jeppesen

Ralph Lauren, 80
Executive Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren became the first American fashion designer to receive the honorary KBE, or Honorary Knight Commander title of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, for services to fashion. On the company side, the brand revealed ambitious goals for boosting employee diversity and revamping its supply chains to be more sustainable in its 2019 Global Citizenship & Sustainability Report.
Key Exec: Patrice Louvet

Jack Ma, 55, Founder, Director & Former Executive Chairman
Daniel Zhang, 47, CEO & Executive Chairman
Alibaba Group

On Sept. 10, billionaire business magnate Ma stepped down from his post as executive chairman at the retail and tech behemoth he founded 20 years ago. The baton was handed to Zhang, who will have to lead Alibaba amid a protracted trade war with the U.S. and China’s economic slowdown.

Steve Madden, 61, Founder, Creative & Design Chief
Ed Rosenfeld, 44, Chairman & CEO
Steven Madden Ltd.

Speed, agility and buzzy partnerships were the name of the game for Madden, who continues to provide his creative touch as Rosenfeld steers the firm through retail shifts. A collaboration with model Winnie Harlow generated noise, while Madden’s acquisition of Ryan Babenzien’s Greats sneaker label appeased Wall Street, as did its Q3 numbers: revenue growth of 9% to $497 million.
Key Execs: Amelia Newton-Varela, Liz Rodbell, Jeff Silverman, Matthew Ellenberger

Paolo Manuzzi, 51
Global GM, Vibram S.P.A

In a move to create more integrated product stories, the company reorganized into global teams: Global Brand led by Vibram Corp. president Fabrizio Gamberini, and Global Product led by Alberto de Campos, GM of the Vibram technology center in China. Two consumer experience centers opened, in Boston and Milan. Its iconic Five Fingers product and shoe repair businesses were reintroduced.

Federico Marchetti, 50
Chairman & CEO, Yoox Net-a-Porter

Net-a-Porter has placed an increased focus on high-rolling clients — EIPs (extremely important people), as the company likes to call them. Similarly, the personal shopping teams have doubled. Elsewhere, the company opened a flagship store on Alibaba’s Tmall Luxury Pavilion. It is an exclusive platform dedicated to leading luxury and fashion brands, and to bringing, under one storefront, new-season collections sold by Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter to online luxury consumers in China.

Calvin McDonald, 47
CEO, Lululemon Athletica

Announcing its five-year growth strategy in April, McDonald revealed Lululemon’s entry into the footwear category with a shoe range designed in-house, following the success of its collaboration with sneaker label APL. The athletic apparel company also seeks to double the sales of its men’s and online businesses and quadruple revenues across the globe.

Doug McMillon, 53
CEO & President, Walmart Inc.

The $514 billion retailer added 600 brands to its lineup this year and 150 premium fashion labels as it strives to become a fashion destination. On McMillon’s watch, Walmart recently revived the previously defunct label Scoop in an effort to build up its private-label brands, though it also recently offloaded its ModCloth business, owned via subsidiary Jet. com, after just two years of ownership.
Key Execs: John Furner, Judith McKenna, Marc Lore

Mark Parker, 64
Chairman President & CEO, Nike Inc.

In a year marred by controversy, including a racial discrimination lawsuit, criticism of the way it treated sponsored pregnant runners and connection to a doping scandal, Parker made a stunning announcement that he’d step down in January. The company tapped industry outsider John Donahoe as its new CEO. Still, Nike found ways to win: Its stock is up double digits this year, it launched several climate change initiatives and it revealed plans for its House of Innovation flagship in Paris.
Key Execs: Hannah Jones, John Hoke, Heidi O’Neill, Michael Spillane

Karl Johan Persson, 44
CEO, H&M Group

H&M’s restructuring efforts are paying off. After a two-year earnings slump, the fast-fashion chain posted better-than-expected profits for Q3, which Persson attributed to well-received summer collections and reduced markdowns. While the exec made strides by hiring H&M’s first head of North American diversity, Ezinne Kwubiri, in November 2018, he drummed up some controversy last month after suggesting sustainability concerns would be bad for the fast-fashion business.

Kevin Plank, 47
Chairman & CEO, Under Armour Inc.

Faced with stiff competition, a sagging stock price, turnover at the top and internal cultural issues, Plank last month said he’d step back from day-to-day operations in January. That’s when right-hand man Patrik Frisk takes the reins, adhering to a strategy that focuses largely on the firm’s performance-driven roots.
Key Execs: Frisk, Stephanie Pugliese

Shui Po Ding, 49
Founder, Chairman & CEO, Xtep International Holdings

In August, Chinese sportswear giant Xtep acquired K-Swiss Global Brands. Under Ding, California heritage brand K-Swiss plans to aggressively target the Chinese market. This year, the label also continued its successful collaboration with powerhouse online marketer Gary Vaynerchuk and released Hollywood-inspired collections to celebrate “Ghostbusters” and “Breaking Bad.”
Key Execs: Barney Waters, Michael Yuan, Christophe Mortemousque

Mario Polegato, 67
Founder & Chairman, Geox SpA

In 2019, the Italian brand pushed ahead into the U.S. market, doubled down on sustainability initiatives, joined Kering’s Fashion Pact, shored up its grip on the kids’ market with Nebula sneakers made from recycled plastic bottles and forged a WWF partnership. Look out for a Disney “Frozen II” collaboration launching in November.
Key Exec: Matteo Mascazzini

Dave Powers, 53
CEO & President, Deckers Brands

The popularity of the Hoka One One brand has been a consistent force, helping Q2 revenues for Deckers to increase 8% to $542.2 million. Hoka sales alone leapt 50% in the quarter to $78.1 million, and earlier in the year, the brand launched the Carbon X racing shoe. Ugg, still Deckers’ bread-and-butter brand, unveiled a unisex Pride Collection made of sheepskin slides to help support the LGBTQ+ community.
Key Execs: Andrea O’Donnell, Wendy Yang, Stefano Caroti

Roger Rawlins, 53, CEO
Debbie Ferrée 66, Vice Chairman & President
Designer Brands

After adding Camuto Group to its existing U.S. and Canadian retail businesses, DSW Inc. renamed itself Designer Brands in February. Meanwhile, Rawlins and his team continued to innovate the namesake stores with a nail bar concept, revamped loyalty program and body-positive marketing launch. For Q2, revenue rose 8.2% to $860.19 million.
Key Execs: Bill Jordan, Simon Nankervis, Mary Turner

Andrew Rees, 53
President & CEO, Crocs

Strategic store closures, high-profile collaborations and a renewed focus on its Classic style led Crocs to a stellar Q2, with e-commerce and same-store sales rising double digits. With Rees in charge, the clog maker also plans to relocate its Niwot, Colo., headquarters next year to a bigger facility in nearby Broomfield.

Oliver Reichert, 48, and Markus Bensberg, 55
Co-CEOs, Birkenstock Group

Its first two retail doors in the U.S. opened in New York and Venice Beach, Calif. The brand also took to the stage when Frances McDormand wore a style from its high-profile collaboration with Valentino to the Academy Awards. Additionally, an expanded offering of shoes and wedges was introduced, and a natural skin care line featuring its signature cork is slated for 2020.
Key Exec: David Kahan

Steve Rendle, 60
President, Chairman & CEO, VF Corp.

Vans and The North Face continue to create buzz for VF. With its denim brands officially spun off, Rendle leads a leaner business focused on outdoor and athletic labels that also include eco-positioned Timberland and Dickies. The firm’s Q3 sales shot up 5% to $3.4 billion.
Key Execs: Steve Murray, Curt Holtz, Doug Palladini, Jim Pisani, Arne Arens

Barbara Rentler, 62
CEO, Ross Stores

In October, Rentler and the off-price chain made good on the plan to add nearly 100 stores to the corporate fleet and expanded into the Midwest. Its Q2 report in August noted that revenues climbed 6.5% over the previous year to hit $4 billion, while same-store sales grew 3%.

Kasper Rorsted, 57
CEO, Adidas

In year 70, Adidas invested in domestic distribution to improve speed to market, bolstered sustainability efforts with Run for the Oceans events, introduced the Futurecraft Loop recyclable running shoe and added megastar Beyoncé to its roster. But the firm had challenges, including public critiques from employees about its diversity and inclusion efforts. Adidas did, however, receive a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.
Key Execs: Zion Armstrong, Eric Liedtke, Karen Parkin

Power Player: Matt O’Toole spent 2019 building Reebok’s women’s business, delivering a maternity collection for moms and its debut line with Victoria Beckham. Also, it named Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss head of its newly created Reebok Studies division.

Stephen Rubin, 81, Chairman
Pentland Group Plc
Andy Rubin, 54, Chairman
Pentland Brands Ltd.

Pentland Brands’ digital, finance and supply chain teams joined the SeaVees business to form a new hub in Santa Barbara, Calif. SeaVees opened its first retail store and increased U.S. sales by 13%. Following the stateside launch of Ellesse footwear last year, the label continues to benefit from the athleisure trend and double-digit growth globally.
Key Execs: Carrie Rubin, Andy Long, Chirag Patel, Robert Dundon, Steven Tiller

Riccardo Sciutto, 47
CEO, Sergio Rossi

Under Sciutto’s leadership, the fashion label is expected to register $75 million in revenue for 2019, a 6% increase from 2018, with e-commerce growth forecast at 40%. The brand also launched its first vegan capsule with Rosie Assoulin, and 2020 promises further collaborations with Adam Lippes and Manebí espadrilles.

Jill Soltau, 52
CEO, J.C. Penney Co.

High debt, waning shares and fledgling sales continue to weigh on JCPenney as Soltau rolled out new strategies to right the ship. JCP’s chief has already shuttered a few dozen underperforming stores, teamed up with buzzy resale site ThredUp and hired a chief transformation officer as sales sink deeper and losses prove persistent. The department store’s Q2 revenues dipped 7% to $2.62 billion and losses totaled $48 million.

Diane Sullivan, 64
CEO, President & Chairman, Caleres Inc.

Sullivan is keeping the Caleres ship steady. Sales were up about 7% during the first half of 2019, and the company racked up its eighth year of back-to-school comp growth at Famous Footwear. Caleres entered a joint venture in China and opened seven Sam Edelman and Naturalizer stores there. It also inked a partnership with rising ready-to-wear brand Veronica Beard and relaunched Zodiac.
Key Execs: Jay Schmidt, Sam Edelman, Molly Adams

Sonia Syngal, 49
President & CEO, Old Navy

In September, Syngal revealed plans to open 800 new stores. The crown jewel in Gap Inc.’s financial portfolio, Old Navy made up almost half of the group’s $16.6 billion in sales last year. In February, Gap announced that it would split into two publicly traded companies in 2020. Syngal will continue to run Old Navy.

Jacob Uhland, 47
President Alpargatas, USA

Uhland, who took the helm last month, will lead the North American arm of the Brazilian footwear and apparel group Alpargatas SA, owner of Havaianas, Osklen and Dupe. Havaianas focused much of the year on collaborations. It did one with hit Netflix show “Stranger Things,” as well as a collab with Brazilian fashion brand Farm Rio on flip-flops inspired by the Amazon rain forest. This summer, Havaianas teamed up with street artist Buff Monster on a virtual storefront that launched on the boardwalk in Venice Beach, Calif.

Geoffroy van Raemdonck, 47
CEO, Neiman Marcus Group

In an effort to diversify its business, the luxury retailer took a minority stake in Fashionphile, an online consignment market specializing in handbags and accessories. The company has struggled of late with a wider net loss in the second quarter and a comparable-store sales decline of 1.5%. However, Neiman Marcus opened a flashy flagship, its first Manhattan store, in New York’s Hudson Yards development.
Key Execs: Lana Todorovich, Elizabeth Allison, Michael Kilger, Linda Fargo

Power Player: Now in her second year heading up Bergdorf Goodman, Darcy Penick added a curated men’s shop showcasing products from around the world, launched a female-specific breakfast series and focused on improving digital sales.

Vincent Wauters, 47
CEO, Hunter Boot Ltd.

Hunter expanded its men’s and women’s footwear and apparel offerings, including shearling boot insoles and puffer jackets, by adding temperature ratings and tags that show the products’ water resistance and insulation. The British brand also teamed up with Peppa Pig for limited-edition children’s footwear and accessories, such as the iconic Grab Handle Wellington boots and umbrellas.
Key Execs: Alasdhair Willis, Daniel Shaw, Sallie Scripter

Jim Weber, 59
CEO, Brooks Running

The NPD Group lauded Brooks earlier this year as the No. 1 specialty running brand by sales, thanks to its innovative products like the Cascadia 14 and Transcend 6. The brand partnered with International Front Runners, the global network of LGBTQ+ running clubs, and launched its Brooks Off-Road Runner program with 11 trail runners.
Key Execs: Melanie Allen, Dan Sheridan, Patrick Pons de Vier

Kenny Wilson, 53
CEO, Dr. Martens

Under Wilson’s watch, the iconic British brand is riding the 1990s trend to the bank: Revenues climbed 30% to 454.4 million pounds and profits vaulted 70% to 85 million pounds for fiscal 2019, led by demand for its Originals collection. Plus, it added 20 brick-and-mortar stores and invested heavily in its e-commerce operations with new staff and technologies.

Gene Yoon, 74
Global Chairman, Fila
Jennifer Estabrook, 59
President, Fila N.A.

After the sudden death of longtime front man Jon Epstein in February, Estabrook was tapped to lead the North American business. Since then, the firm has signed international K-pop sensation BTS as brand ambassadors and brought its retro shoe style to the outdoor market with a collection called Fila Explore.

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