Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos and Michael Kors Holdings Ltd.’s John Idol both found a home on Sydney Finkelstein’s first list of best chief executive officers of the year.
Finkelstein, professor of management and associate dean at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, has long issued an annual worst ceo’s list. This year, both former J.C. Penney Co. Inc. chief Ron Johnson and Sears Holdings Corp. ceo Edward S. Lampert qualified for worst-of mentions.
In an interview Webcast on Yahoo, Finkelstein cited Bezos’ “unbelievable focus on customers” and “nonstop innovation” for his selection as the best ceo of the year. The educator also pointed out that Bezos is setting Amazon on a collision course with the fashion industry, which Finkelstein considers “rife for disruption….No one is better at it than Amazon.”
Citing Michael Kors’ successful initial public offering two years ago and stock appreciation since, Finkelstein credited Idol with bringing the company “open-mindedness, debate and discussion” and an ability to “break down the silos” in plotting the company’s course.
The other outstanding ceo’s for the year were Akio Toyoda of Toyota and Pony Ma of Tencent in China.
Johnson took second place to Eike Batista of Brazil’s EBX/OGX/OSX among the list of worst ceo’s. He was described by Finkelstein as among the worst ceo’s of the decade for making the fatal mistake of thinking that, as was the case with Johnson’s stewardship of Apple’s retail operations, there was no need to discount because people “are in line for your products.”
“It’s almost like he fired his customers,” Finkelstein said.
Lampert was faulted for following “a classic financial strategy at Sears” in which one cuts costs, sells off assets and then buys back stock. He acknowledged that Sears’ real estate still has value but that, with the stock off 70 percent from its highs of a few years ago, there’s no advantage in buying it back.
He referred to Lampert as “the anti-Mickey Drexler,” contrasting the Sears ceo’s lack of understanding of merchandising, his customers and of “how to manage the stores” with the superior instincts and insights of the J. Crew Group Inc. ceo.
Thorsten Heins, now ousted ceo of Blackberry Ltd., qualified as the third worst ceo in Finkelstein’s ranking, between Johnson and Lampert.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast