Finding a new Target Corp. chief executive officer won’t be quick or easy: It’s a complicated assignment, requiring someone who knows a thing or two about reinventing a brand and cleaning up past mistakes.
“Scale isn’t everything. It’s really complexity,” said Karen Harvey, founder and ceo of Karen Harvey Consulting Group. She suggested Vittorio Radice, who reinvented Selfridges in London and Rinascente in Italy, as someone Target should check out. “Even though he’s never done mass, Vittorio is an adventurer. He’s a master at reinventing.”
The Target ceo search is further complicated by J.C. Penney Co. Inc., The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. and American Eagle Outfitters Inc. also looking for ceo’s in an industry where there is a limited pool of experienced and talented individuals who could manage a business as big as Target’s. J.C. Penney is another tough search, considering its future turnaround seems uncertain and ceo Myron “Mike” Ullman 3rd is believed to be seeking someone who would work alongside him during a transition period.
Bon-Ton is also seeking a ceo to succeed Brendan Hoffman, but Bon-Ton is much smaller than Target or Penney’s and could consider candidates that wouldn’t necessarily be from the same field that Penney’s and Target select from.
“To bring some level [of] confidence back to shareholders and consumers, Target is really going to have to bring someone from the outside” its own ranks, said Kathy Gersch, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Kotter International consulting. “They need somebody that really can take this opportunity to move quickly and accelerate this transformation. They can’t afford a slow, methodical approach. Target needs someone who understands the consumer market. They need to change the customer experience and get those in their organization who deal with customers, whether they work in the credit department, with the online business or in stores, more engaged to win back customers. The board must also come together to articulate what they see as the future for Target and paint the picture for prospective ceo candidates.”
“They need a merchant who can lead a very large, complicated company, as opposed to someone who would come on board and learn,” said another retail expert. “It appears there was no viable succession planning.”
“In retail, a couple of bad years and you’re out. These companies change their people like baseball managers,” said John Challenger, ceo of outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. “You would think that a top priority for Target would [be wanting] to find a ceo who has the background to reassure their shareholders, their customers and the markets that he or she can clean that data breach problem up, and that will never happen again, but Target was facing tremendous pressure before this happened.”
“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