J. Crew Group, after searching for months and months, has hired Jan Singer as chief executive officer.
Singer, a veteran consumer and retail executive with more than 25 years of experience, most recently served as ceo of Victoria’s Secret, and earlier worked at Spanx and Nike.
Singer will oversee the J. Crew and J. Crew Factory brands and businesses, but will not have responsibility for Madewell, which is being spun off into a public company. Michael J. Nicholson, interim ceo, will return to his previous role as president and chief operating officer of J. Crew Group Inc. He moved into the interim role after James Brett abruptly left as ceo in November 2018. Libby Wadle will continue as president and ceo of Madewell, reporting separately to the board.
“Jan is a dynamic leader with significant experience growing and modernizing omnichannel brands,” said Chad Leat, director and chairman of the board. “Over the past year, we have made great progress restoring profitability at the J. Crew brand, while further optimizing our operations, thereby establishing a strong foundation for long-term growth. Jan’s passion for our brand, focused vision of our potential and deep understanding of the modern consumer will be invaluable in rebuilding the strategic positioning and prestige of our iconic brand and company.”
At Victoria’s Secret, Singer led the brand’s $4 billion intimates business across 1,000 stores and digital platforms. She is credited with strengthening the operating performance by innovating across core categories and relaunching high-growth businesses like sleep and exclusive collaborations.
Earlier, Singer served as ceo of Spanx Inc. and was at Nike Inc. for 10 years, where she led the global footwear and apparel teams. She oversaw some key Nike products including Nike Flyknit, Nike Free and the reset of Nike Air. She was also responsible for apparel innovations including Nike Seamless, Nike AeroLoft and Nike Tech Fleece.
“My passion for developing product, brand experiences and teams feels very at home at J. Crew,” Singer said in a statement.
The J. Crew brand for several years has been struggling, losing market share and suffering from product misses, though Nicholson cited “encouraging momentum led by strong gross margin performance and the accelerated benefits of our multiyear cost optimization program. With these key building blocks in place, it is an opportune time for J. Crew to bring on a leader with a proven track record in positioning brands for success.”
Madewell, on the other hand, has been on a roll and continues to open stores, gain popularity.
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