NEW YORK — It’s about dealing with change.

That’s mandatory for any chief executive officer to succeed in the turbulent and rapidly consolidating worlds of fashion and retail. Making strategic shifts and staying creative without a lot of second-guessing are the orders of the day.

Given the state of affairs, the next WWD/DNR CEO Summit, which will be held Nov. 2 to 4 at the Ritz-Carlton in lower Manhattan, has lined up some of the industry’s most compelling agents of change to discuss the difficult decisions they’ve made, the ups and downs, and the road ahead, providing lessons for the future. There will also be several leaders from outside the worlds of fashion and retailing to spur new thinking.

Among the issues to be addressed at the three-day summit, titled “The Challenge of Change,” will be the enduring luxury wave, emerging global markets, sensible brand extensions, the consumer’s complicated mind-set, and the delicate balance of commerce and creativity, all of which speak to the challenges faced by any ceo.

Those attending will gain the perspective of several executives who have recently taken on new challenges within the industry, including:

This story first appeared in the October 5, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

  • Myron E. Ullman, chairman and ceo, J.C. Penney Co. Inc., who will discuss the reengineering of one of America’s biggest department store chains and offer his take on the big changes at retail.
  • Robert Polet, president and ceo of Gucci Group, who will share the branding lessons he learned at Unilever and how he’s applying them at Gucci to grow that business.
  • Terri Lynn Kelly, president and ceo of W.L. Gore & Associates Inc., who will explain how Gore has created a distinctive corporate culture that has earned it recognition as one of the best companies to work for.
  • Eric C. Wiseman, executive vice president, Global Brands, VF Corp., who was instrumental in creating the group’s $1 billion outdoor division and will talk about building and managing a lifestyle brand portfolio.
  • Gregory Scott, ceo, Bebe Stores Inc., who will spotlight the strategic initiatives that have turned Bebe into one of the nation’s hottest retailers.

    Executives inside and outside the fashion business will provide insight into how to forge strong connections with today’s fickle consumers. Highlights will include:

  • Ronald Johnson, senior vice president of retail, Apple Computer, and a former Target Corp. executive, who will describe how to “think different” and use retail to deepen consumers’ brand experience.
  • Branding guru Kevin Roberts, ceo, Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi, who will advise what fashion companies must do to transform their brands into “love marks” with powerful emotional attachments.
  • Claudio Del Vecchio, president and ceo of Retail Brand Alliance Inc., who will talk about how he’s been rebuilding the traditional Brooks Brothers brand to resonate with modern consumers.
  • David Lauren, vice president of advertising, marketing and corporate communications, Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., who will give an inside view on using the Internet as a branding and retailing vehicle.

    The summit also will offer global perspectives from a number of speakers, including:

  • Mindy Grossman, vice president of global apparel, Nike Inc., who will discuss how the activewear company is leveraging the brand’s power to market apparel to women globally.
  • Matteo Marzotto, chief operating officer, Valentino SpA, who will provide insight into building a global fashion business.
  • Marjorie Yang, chairman and ceo of the Esquel Group, the world’s largest cotton shirt maker, who will share her experience doing business in China.

Two marquee designer names will highlight both evenings. Vera Wang, ceo, Vera Wang Bridal House Ltd., will kick off the conference with a presentation on how she’s grown into an international design force from her roots in the bridal business.

Capping off the second day, Nicolas Ghesquière will talk about how he’s breathed new life into Balenciaga since becoming its artistic director in 1997.

Others on the speaking roster are Susan Lyne, president and ceo, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., and Jim Citrin, senior director, Spencer Stuart; David M. Spooner, special textile negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; Gary Hawkins, ceo, Green Hills Inc. and Hawkins Strategic LLC, and Sterling Hawkins, vice president, Hawkins Strategic LLC; Philip F. Bleser, president and group executive, mid-corporate banking, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.; Bruce Mosler, president and ceo, Cushman & Wakefield Inc.; Scott Friend, chairman, Oracle Retail Advisory Board, Oracle Retail, and Jim Neal, principal and director of general merchandise services, Kurt Salmon Associates.

For more information about the summit, please contact Jennifer Macaluso at 212-630-4947 or e-mail her at jennifer.macaluso@fairchildpub.com.

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