As J. Crew Group prepares to post its year-end and fourth quarter report today, the struggling company still seems a ways off from picking someone for the corner office, sources tell WWD.
The chief executive officer’s slot has been vacant since the abrupt departure of Jim Brett last November after just 15 months into his mission to turn around the business. The retailer said at the time that a “mutual agreement” was reached by the board and Brett, but others said Brett was forced out and had disagreements with the board over strategy. The group, which includes J. Crew, Madewell and J. Crew Factory, has been interviewing candidates, including Stefan Larsson at one point. It’s unclear whether Larsson took himself out of the running for the J. Crew job, or if the group didn’t see the fit. “J. Crew is not an easy job,” said one source. “Stefan may not have been interested.” After successful stints working for Old Navy and H&M, Larsson was the ceo of the Ralph Lauren Corp. from November 2015 to May 2017. He had less success there than in his earlier retail jobs, and departed after clashes over strategy with founder Ralph Lauren.
Currently running J. Crew Group is the office of the ceo, which includes Michael Nicholson, president and chief operating officer; Adam Brotman, president and chief experience officer; Lynda Markoe, chief administration officer, and Libby Wadle, president of Madewell.