Twice a year, the Macy’s Inc. board takes store tours, but along the route, chairman, president and chief executive officer Terry J. Lundgren tends to slip away.
“You can’t find him. He’s always standing on the side talking with a group of sales associates,” said Meyer Feldberg, dean emeritus of Columbia Business School and a member of the Macy’s board. “People like to be with Terry. He connects.”
Under the grand rotunda of Columbia’s Low Memorial Library, Lundgren was presented with the 2012 Deming Cup, named after the late W. Edwards Deming, a professor, statistician, author, consultant and business innovator best known for his work in Japan in the Fifties teaching top managers about product testing and quality and elevating design. Lundgren was honored for making “the bold calls and navigating Macy’s through profound changes,” including doubling the size of the company through the acquisition of May Department Stores Co. in 2005, nationalizing the Macy’s nameplate, and localizing assortments by creating the My Macy’s field organization.
Ratan N. Tata, chairman of Tata Sons Ltd., was also honored with the 2012 Deming Cup for turning his company around and transforming what was a family-owned Indian conglomerate into an international organization.
“The key to all this is crystal clear — constant communication all the way down to the selling floor,” Lundgren said. “We can get in the way if we are not listening closely to what associates need from us.”
Communication skills were most necessary when Lundgren decided to rename as Macy’s all the stores purchased, even the venerable Marshall Field’s and Filene’s. “Changing the name of 400 stores was not necessarily popular in any city. But we did it with a great deal of caring and listening,” he said.
Lundgren also said that My Macy’s has been “the biggest win” for the company, and that the My Macy’s field organization does what no technology can do — it figures out what’s lacking in the stores that customers want. “Our story is a human-driven strategy.…Dr. Deming lives and breathes in our company,” Lundgren said.
The Deming Cup award dinner, which drew 250 guests including Henry Kissinger, who introduced Tata, supports the activities of W. Edwards Deming Center for Quality, Productivity and Competitiveness, including study tours to emerging countries for faculty members teaching operations and strategy; applied research fellowships for doctoral students, and the development of study cases on the Deming Cup recipients to propagate Deming Principles, and a health care conference next spring focusing on process improvement.
“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