The Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the Retail Leaders Circle have revealed the speaker lineup for the 2022 CEO Summit, to be held March 1 at the Rainbow Room in New York.
The daylong summit’s theme is “Values + Purpose: Leading the Neo-Renaissance.”
Tory Burch will be honored the night before the summit with the Retail Excellence Award in recognition of her leadership and support of women entrepreneurs. Burch, who launched her brand in 2004, has 345 stores around the world, including its new global flagship on Mercer Street in SoHo in New York. In 2009 she launched the Tory Burch Foundation to advance women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship by providing access to capital, education and digital resources.
The invitation-only summit is expected to bring together 150 senior retail and brand executives, including members of Baker center’s boards and selected industry partners. The programming will focus on how organizations across fashion, wellness, lifestyle, food and beverage are driving profitability by aligning their business model with new consumer priorities and working to create an ethical value chain. Consumers appear to be more interested in shopping from retailers and brands that share their values across such issues as diversity, equity and inclusion, health and wellness, sustainability, vaccination efforts, mental health, philanthropy and body positivity.
Confirmed speakers include Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of Warby Parker; Danny Meyer, founder and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group; Jeff Raider, co-founder and co-CEO of Harry’s; Debra G. Perelman, president and CEO of Revlon Inc.; James Reinhart, co-founder and CEO of ThredUp; Lori Coulter, co-founder and CEO of Summersalt; Cami Tellez, founder and CEO of Parade; Trina Spear, co-CEO and co-founder of Figs; Rob Smith, CEO and founder of The Phluid Project; Sally Susman, executive vice president, chief corporate affairs officer of Pfizer Inc.; Walter Robb, principal at Stonewall Robb Advisors and former co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, and Kendra Bracken-Ferguson, founder of BrainTrust Founders Studio.
“During the past two years, the retail industry has undergone unprecedented transitions as e-commerce has boomed, the role of the store has been redefined, and consumers have adapted their behavior to the pandemic world,” said Thomas S. Robertson, Joshua J. Harris professor and professor of marketing at Wharton. “Consumers are increasingly focused on companies’ values, purpose and mission and shoppers are more conscious than ever of the effects of their consumption on the world. These changes have challenged brands and retailers to fundamentally rethink their strategic positioning as they closely align their mission and values with their business models.”
Panos Linardos, executive director, Retail Leaders Circle, added: “Following the unprecedented changes and uncertainty this pandemic has brought, there has never been a more critical moment for retail leaders to connect. Our focus this year is to navigate this new landscape and explore how leading brands and retailers can trigger bold new strategies to build a resilient, sustainable and thriving industry future.”
The Jay H. Baker Retailing Center was established at Wharton in 2002 through a gift by Jay and Patty Baker. Jay Baker, former president and director of the Kohl’s Corp., is a Wharton graduate. Retail Leaders Circle is an international platform, powered by the New York Institute of Management, for expert-led debate between CEOs, industry innovators and influencers on the future of retail.
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