Joshua Schulman has been named chief executive officer of the Michael Kors brand effective today, and will succeed John D. Idol as chief executive officer of Capri Holdings in September 2022 when Idol will step up to executive chairman.
Initially, Schulman, 50, will be responsible for all aspects of the Michael Kors brand globally, reporting directly to Idol, the 62-year-old chairman and CEO of Capri Holdings before stepping into Idol’s role.
News of Schulman’s appointment sent the Capri stock up 6.15 percent to close at 60.55 on Tuesday.
Rumors were swirling last November that Schulman might make the jump to Capri after his non-compete expired, as reported in WWD.
Schulman had previously been president and CEO of the Coach brand from 2017 to 2020. Earlier, he was with Neiman Marcus Group as president of Bergdorf Goodman from 2012 to 2017, and had assumed additional responsibility for NMG International with the acquisition of Mytheresa.com in 2014. From 2007 to 2012, Schulman was CEO of Jimmy Choo and was one of the forces behind its blockbuster growth. Previously, he held senior posts in global fashion and luxury brands including Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci.
“I am thrilled to have Josh join Capri Holdings as CEO of the Michael Kors brand. Josh is an outstanding leader with brand retail experience, industry depth and a proven track record of successfully operating and growing luxury brands,” Idol said.
“I am delighted to join Capri as CEO of Michael Kors,” Schulman said. “I have long admired Michael’s design vision and how the brand creates timeless fashion and embodies jet set glamour. I look forward to working closely with him and the talented Michael Kors management team to build upon the long-standing success of the brand.”
In September 2022, Schulman will also be appointed to the Capri Holdings’ board of directors. Upon Schulman’s appointment as CEO of Capri Holdings, Idol will work closely with Schulman to transition the role of CEO and continue to provide overall leadership to the board of directors.
“Josh’s appointment is part of a thoughtfully planned leadership succession,” said Idol. “Over the course of the next year, Josh will immerse himself in the Michael Kors brand.” In September 2022, he steps up to CEO of Capri. “The board and I are confident in Josh’s unique abilities to lead Capri Holdings. His results-driven leadership style and passion for building consumer-centric global brands will be instrumental in maximizing the full potential of our three luxury fashion houses,” Idol said.
“We believe our plan will allow for a smooth CEO transition next fall. I look forward to partnering with Josh on the overall strategic direction for the group as well as on potential strategic acquisitions,” Idol said.
“I am honored and excited to assume the role of CEO of Capri Holdings next year,” Schulman added. “Capri Holdings has uniquely positioned itself as a leading global fashion luxury group. I have tremendous respect of what the teams have accomplished across the three founder-led brands. I believe in the strategic vision for Capri Holdings and I look forward to partnering with John and the board in leading Capri Holdings through its next phase of growth.”
Capri, whose brands include Kors, Versace and Jimmy Choo, generated revenues of $4.1 billion for the year ended March 27 and revenues of $5.6 billion in the year just before the pandemic. Based on strong first quarter results, the company raised its fiscal 2022 revenues and earnings outlook, as reported last month.
In an analyst meeting last June, Idol outlined goals for the company, saying Capri stands to grow to $7 billion in revenues by paying down debt, opening more stores, growing the accessories business across the portfolio and attracting new, younger shoppers. Capri also would consider making more acquisitions in the future. Capri executives laid out some ambitious plans such as growing the accessories business to about 50 percent of total revenues across the portfolio and opening more stores.
“We are an accessories-led company first,” Idol told analysts, pointing out that while ready-to-wear will continue to be an important part of Capri’s growth strategy, the company will focus on small leather goods and handbags, as well as brick-and-mortar real estate. All are areas that Schulman, a seasoned fashion and luxury executive, is well versed in.
Analysts applauded the passing of the baton to Schulman, who enjoys a good reputation in the industry and has long been seen as building up to one of the coveted spots as a public company CEO in fashion.
Ike Boruchow, Wells Fargo analyst, wrote in a research note, “Given Mr. Schulman’s strong track record (particularly as the president of Coach) and a Michael Kors business that has been somewhat volatile through the years, we believe investors will view the announcement as a positive to the CPRI [Capri Holdings Ltd.] story. Mr. Schulman was instrumental in Coach’s turnaround and is an admired and respected leader within the fashion industry, and we believe he is the ideal candidate to lead CPRI into the next stage of growth.”
Boruchow noted that prior to Schulman’s arrival at Coach, the brand had been struggling and revenues had been shrinking for several years. “However, shortly after his arrival, the brand began to positively inflect — bringing the brand back to positive comps (primarily in the full-price channel) and market share gains. Further, we believe much of Coach’s current success goes back to the strategies and changes that Mr. Schulman implemented during his tenure, including a focus on digital and improving brand health.”
Boruchow added, “CPRI business (and the stock’s multiple) has clearly been pressured over the years; however, the recent turnaround efforts, now combined with fresh leadership, will add more duration to the ball thesis here. Lastly, Mr. Schulman’s experience and success at luxury brands/retailers aligns well with CPRI’s strategy to focus growth on its luxury assets, Versace and Jimmy Choo.”
According to a research note from BMO Capital Markets, “We see this as a strong positive as Josh applies his successful tenure to CPRI’s already impressive momentum. We reiterate CPRI as one of our top ideas and expect Josh to begin an exciting next chapter building off of John’s already compelling trajectory.”
The note stated that Idol passes the mantle to Schulman “from a clear position of strength, with Michael Kors stabilizing as (still) one of the largest brands in history, sitting alongside an increasingly exciting luxury story as Versace propels and Jimmy Choo works its way up.”
“Mr. Idol deserves clear credit for creating one of history’s largest and most profitable brands, then assembling a portfolio of quality brands. Through a strategic focus on channel (d-to-c, wholesale and notably licensing) product and geographic diversification, he built CPRI from the ground up and passes the baton to a very well-respected leader at an exciting time,” according to BMO Capital Markets.
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