Here are comments from some of the many people who worked with him over the years, including several to whom he’s reported.

This story first appeared in the April 19, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Bruce Klatsky, former chairman and chief executive officer, PVH Corp., and partner, LNK Partners:

“Allen started his career at PVH before I did — as a merchant, actually — and left before I joined. I convinced him to come back in 1985, and he was an integral part of the turnaround that helped to stabilize our platform and, in turn, enabled us to evolve the company and buy Calvin Klein and subsequently Tommy Hilfiger. I’m so glad we were able to attract him to come back, and so grateful for the role he played in the company’s transformation. Outside of business, he is devoted to his family. I can think of countless times when there was no higher mission than to provide for his wife, Bonnie, and for both his son, David, and his daughter, Ami. Ami has a wonderful orientation toward humanity, and David’s the same way beyond the work he does at PVH. All around, a wonderful guy.”


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Larry Leeds, chairman, Buckingham Capital Management, and former ceo, Manhattan Industries:

“Allen started with Manhattan when he was a young man, and he was just a wonderful young human being then, and as far as I’m concerned, he’s just a wonderful young human being now. He was intelligent and hard working from day one, and I thought from the minute he came into our company he had the potential to be a great executive, which turned out to be precisely the case. I consider myself a friend and an admirer. I’ve enjoyed watching him become such an important factor in the growth of PVH to become the magnificent company it is today. He really was a vital instrument in the growth and success of PVH. He became a pillar of the industry and he and Manny Chirico became just a terrific team over the years — such a dominant factor in the men’s industry. I felt his primary attributes were common sense, intelligence and leadership. Our relationship grew over the years into one of great personal friendship and, today, I would add loyalty to that list.”

Lawrence S. Phillips, former chairman, PVH Corp.:

“Great potential. Fully realized. Congratulations.”

Michael Balmuth, vice chairman and ceo, Ross Stores Inc.:

“Allen is a smart, pragmatic visionary who always makes his presence known. He’s unique in that in every meeting I have ever had with Allen, not only was he fair and straight, but I always learned something. He always gave me a different way to look at situations and got me to think further out, and he’s always pushed the people who’ve worked with me to think further ahead, to look at things differently than they might. He’s principled and fair, a stand-up guy. For a man who’s as busy and involved in as many different things as he is, with such a demanding position at PVH that takes so much time, he’s found a way to strike the balance that so many of us strive for. Allen is committed to everything he does. A lot of us lose sight of what’s important. He never has.”

Donald J. Trump, chairman and president, The Trump Organization (PVH licensor):

“Allen has been a wonderful business partner and friend. He supported the Donald J. Trump Signature Collection early on and has continued to do so since the brand’s creation. I’ve enjoyed working with Allen and wish him all the best in his retirement.”

Robert Stock, founder, co-chairman, chief creative officer, Robert Graham Holdings LLC (PVH licensor):

“Allen and I worked together at Manhattan Industries for a relatively short time, but he was, even then, a pretty amazing guy, one of the first people I ever worked with who understood merchandising in general and merchandising a collection in particular, and also had a strong financial orientation. He knew the technology of knits and wovens so well. He is a really honorable, understated sort of guy, a great businessman, very level-headed, principled and easy to work with. We work with his son, David, on Robert Graham neckwear and he’s the same kind of person — a really good guy and a great businessman. Allen’s got a great sense of humor and could joke about his different wardrobes in different sizes. I wish him and Bonnie the best. I’m sure he’ll have a great life outside the business but will always in his heart be connected to the business.”

Stuart Goldblatt, executive vice president, private brands, Macy’s Merchandising Group, Macy’s Inc.:

“I first met Allen when he was the very young ceo of Puritan Sportswear [then a division of Warnaco] in 1981. I worked as an assistant buyer at the Hecht Co. I was always amazed by Allen for many reasons. Here are three that resonate most with me today, and they are the same from my first meeting with Allen in 1981: his willingness to be accessible and act as a strong mentor and leader, and to possess a progressive business mind with great intellect and wit; his great capacity to balance commerce and creativity with astounding success; he likes to eat!”

Kenneth Cole, chairman and chief creative officer, Kenneth Cole Productions Inc. (PVH licensor):

“Allen has been an innovative and dynamic leader in the business for many years. Allen is a great merchant, businessman and most importantly has been a great friend to Kenneth Cole Productions.”

Elie Tahari, chairman and ceo, Elie Tahari Ltd. (PVH licensor):

“Allen Sirkin has done so much for PVH and for the larger fashion community in his tenure. Allen has dedicated his career to growing PVH and their company’s global business, and I am grateful to have partnered with them to expand our Elie Tahari men’s business. I wish Allen much happiness in his future endeavors and wherever life takes him.”

Morris Goldfarb, chairman and ceo, G-III Apparel Group Ltd. (Calvin Klein licensee):

“Allen’s powerful inspiration has guided many people through difficult times. His devotion to many charities, his many friends and business associates is admirable. He represents great leadership, having the right balance of business skills and a true sense of fair play. Our industry needs more Allen Sirkins. I wish you greater success in business and on the golf course for this next chapter of your life.

Frank Tworecke, group president, sportswear, Warnaco Group Inc. (Calvin Klein licensee):

“I have had the pleasure of working with Allen during his long and successful career. He is not only one of the most knowledgeable men’s merchants but also one of the most forthright. If his career and accomplishments were to be gauged against his business success, he is at the pinnacle of the profession. However, I believe he should be remembered for his compassion, charitable engagement, sage advice and commitment to family and friends.

Tom Hutton, president and ceo of Geoffrey Beene LLC (PVH licensee), and ceo, Geoffrey Beene Foundation:

“Allen Sirkin is a key reason that Geoffrey Beene has been the number-one-selling designer dress shirt at department stores for approximately the past 15 years. Allen is a visionary at PVH, a strategic thinker, and his operational skills have made the Geoffrey Beene partnership with PVH for the past 30 years an industry success story. Much of the philanthropy of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation and Geoffrey Beene Gives Back philanthropic program is a result of the success of our dress shirt license with PVH headed by Allen. We wish Allen a long, healthy and enjoyable retirement.”

Michael Setola, president and ceo, Tharanco Lifestyles LLC:

“A man amongst men, a true gentleman and an all-around nice guy. Allen exemplifies the very best of the executives in our industry who have made a difference for their companies and their customers. And in giving of himself for humanitarian initiatives, he has made a difference in the lives of so many in need. I’m proud to call Allen a friend.”

Jimmy Rosenfeld, co-president, Fishman Tobin Apparel Group (PVH licensee):

“Allen is a world-class gentleman, and he’s been a father figure and a mentor to us in our 15-year relationship with PVH. He’s always been tough but fair, and he’s always treated us like partners, never with a ‘David vs. Goliath’ attitude. You always have a sense of inclusion with Allen; I’m sure he has 50 best friends and each one feels like he’s the only one. He tends to look at just about everything as a win-win situation, and he’s got an incredibly positive attitude about everything. You learn a lot about a person on the golf course, and with Allen, he could be 10 yards into the trees, in the rough, behind a rock or under a branch, and he walks in with a smile and says, ‘This is just where I want to be.’ If he ever writes a book, it should be called ‘Getting to Yes.’ That’s the attitude he has about things, and it’s served him and many of us who have known and worked with him very well.”

Roger Penske, owner of Penske Racing team and Penske Corp.:

“I have enjoyed getting to know Allen over the last few years, and we truly appreciate his support and passion for the Izod IndyCar Series. Allen has been a good friend to Team Penske, and we wish him the best in his retirement. We hope to see him soon out at the racetrack.”

Ira Schwartz
, ceo, Free Country Inc. (PVH licensee):

“When we were in the final stages of negotiating our license for Izod, I told him we were very supply-side competent and that we could produce the best garments at ‘magical’ price points. He liked that and it led to a whole discussion about how he appreciated the ‘animated’ seller over the ‘bottled-up’ one. And we got the license. Allen was always a truly decent guy when it came time to negotiate renewals. He always did right by me. Allen is one of the truly good guys, a really important part of what’s made PVH operate as a dynamic and progressive public company.”

David Katz, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Randa Accessories (PVH licensee):

“Allen is a strong leader and a strategic partner. In the new world order where companies compete with one another on one front and partner together on others, the key is mutual respect. Allen and PVH have earned the respect of Randa and our industry. We wish Allen well, and look forward to new and continued alignments with PVH.”

Kenneth Wyse, president, licensing and public relations, PVH Corp.:

“Allen was an extraordinary mentor. He’s always cut through the clutter and gotten to the core of the matter immediately. He always had a response and an answer. When there were issues that were difficult, he would tell you, “Sometimes you have to moan and move on. Don’t get caught up in the stuff that brings you down; look to the positive and success.” He’s a great articulator with clear vision, a motivator and a great believer in a person’s ability to succeed. He would share his personal experiences with you and tell you how he grew and got through difficult situations. There were always great stores to listen to, always with a great lesson.”

Cathy Hoffman Glosser
, executive vice president, global licensing, The Trump Organization (PVH licensor):

“Allen Sirkin is a unique individual, business partner and friend, always willing to listen and diffuse an intense discussion with his quick wit. It was clear to me early on in our partnership that Allen and I would become friends. He reinforced the value of not letting your emotions get the best of you in business, often saying ‘Moan and move on’ if you have an issue with something. I’ve enjoyed our phone conversations and lunches, talking about business and the importance of family. Allen is irreplaceable. He will be missed.”

Linda DeRefler, public relations consultant to PVH:

“Allen Sirkin sees it as it is, analyzes the situation for what it is and gets the job done, big or small, without failure or fuss. His batting average for being right at the right time more than qualifies him for a top spot in the industry’s Hall of Fame. And to quote Allen, ‘Move on!’ ”

Ken Duane, ceo, wholesale apparel, PVH Corp.:

“Since my first week at PVH, Allen has been a mentor and good friend to me, providing continuous support and influence in my career. Allen’s primary goal has always been to consistently give back to his associates through guidance and direction, from which we all benefit. I am very fortunate to have worked so closely with Allen and wish him well in his retirement.”

Mike Shaffer, executive vice president, chief operating and financial officer, PVH Corp.:

“Over the years, Allen has served many roles in my career, including my boss, my mentor and always a good friend. I have always valued his judgment and guidance. I owe Allen a great deal and thank him for all he has done for PVH and for me.”

Tom Murry, president and ceo, Calvin Klein:

“It has been a privilege to work with Allen since the acquisition of Calvin Klein in 2003. His exceptional experience and integrity are qualities that have enabled him to make enormous contributions to PVH over the course of his remarkable career. I will miss our business association but look forward to continuing our friendship on and off the golf course.”

Marc Schneider, group president, Heritage wholesale division:

“Allen has been a tremendous teacher during my five years at PVH. He has such a tremendous perspective on the market, the industry, the landscape and the consumer. He is always willing to share his experiences with me and, more importantly, he is willing to listen to different points of view to get to the desired outcome. He is a fair and balanced executive, pushing the organization to gather ‘outside-in’ versus ‘inside-out’ thinking. His lessons will live on.”

Fred Gehring, ceo, Tommy Hilfiger and PVH international operations:

“It was a pleasure getting to know Allen during the acquisition process. He played a critical role in making the deal happen and successfully integrating the U.S. Tommy Hilfiger business with PVH. We are very grateful for his involvement during this important time. He is a true gentleman.”

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