Industry and financial sources have been buzzing that Schulman, who resigned as chief executive officer of Tapestry Inc.’s Coach business last March, is preparing to join Capri and, the sources say, take the reins from ceo and chairman John Idol.
Neither Schulman, who officially left Tapestry on Aug. 13 and has a one-year non-compete agreement, nor representatives for Capri responded to queries about the industry chatter on Wednesday.
Idol’s current employment agreement expires March 31 but is set to automatically renew in one-year increments.
The arrival of Schulman would mark a significant changing of the guard at Capri, which came together when Idol, who took charge of Michael Kors in 2003 and helped take the company public in 2011, acquired Jimmy Choo and Versace and renamed the company in 2018.
It’s a tough job, one that means not only navigating the capricious fashion market but coordinating growth at multiple brands while keeping shareholders happy amid waves of systemic change — from digitization and casualization of fashion to the rise of all things direct-to-consumer.
Capri has a market capitalization of $4.8 billion and has been building back from the depths of the pandemic. Revenues for the quarter ended Sept. 26 totaled $1.1 billion, a 23 percent drop from a year earlier, but the group still managed to post a $121 million profit.
But Schulman, who enjoys a good reputation in the industry, has long been seen as building up to one of the coveted spots as a public company ceo in fashion. This is also ground he has covered before, having run Jimmy Choo in the past but also by working at Kors competitor Coach, which itself is part of a large multibrand group.
Schulman started his career in the early Nineties under Robert Duffy and Marc Jacobs at Perry Ellis and moved on to larger and larger roles, including stints as executive vice president at the Gucci Group, ceo of Jimmy Choo and president of Bergdorf Goodman.
When Schulman went to Bergdorf’s in 2012, his former boss, Domenico De Sole, who served as president and ceo of Gucci Group, described him as “a very capable and intelligent merchant who has proven to be a strong ceo. He understands luxury. He expanded ladies ready-to-wear at Gucci and then at Yves Saint Laurent did an excellent job. He’s a very thoughtful boss and is always promoting his own people” and prone to crediting his team. “He says ‘we’ not ‘I.’”
If Schulman, who is gay, does take the top job at Capri, he would be bringing some much-needed c-suite diversity to fashion and corporate America, where white, straight men still largely run the show.
Schulman, who has pushed to create more inclusive workplaces and seeks to be a role model, credited the example of both Duffy and Jacobs in an interview with WWD last year.
“In that moment very early on, they were part of both my professional development, first and foremost, but also the people in the company gave me the idea of what it would be like to be an out professional in the industry,” Schulman said.
“I was thinking about what I wanted to do with my career. One of my goals was also to be one of the presidents or ceo’s of a department store and, frankly, at that time, there were no examples of that. Then flash-forward to today, kids growing up or coming into the industry can see Jeff Gennette at Macy’s, Tim Cook at Apple and [then presidential candidate] Pete Buttigieg,” Schulman said. “You want to create a culture that has ultimately a diversity of opinions and a diversity of background, first and foremost because it’s the right thing to do. An important byproduct of that is, it’s good business.”
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