NEW YORK — Tory Burch LLC has named John Mehas as president.
This story first appeared in the October 4, 2016 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
In his new role, Mehas reports to Tory Burch, chairman and co-chief executive officer, and Roger Farah, co-ceo. Mehas joins the Executive Directors Office, a management group comprised of Burch, Farah and the president of business development and chief legal officer Robert Isen.
Mehas succeeds Brigitte Kleine, who revealed her resignation in August and left the company last month. Kleine had been with Burch for nearly 12 years, spearheading the growth of the ready-to-wear and accessories business into an operation that reportedly generates over $1 billion in sales.
“John is a proven leader and an innovative thinker with vast knowledge of the global retail landscape,” Burch said, adding that Mehas joins the company “as we accelerate our efforts to further scale the business while maintaining our focus on long-term growth.”
As the former vice chairman of Ralph Lauren Corp. Farah already has considerable insight into Mehas’ professional style. “Having worked with John for a number of years, he is an exceptional person with extensive merchant expertise and a deep understanding of the retail environment,” Farah said.
For his part, Mehas said, “I share Tory’s vision for the future and believe the company has tremendous potential. I look forward to working with Tory, Roger, Robert and the incredibly talented team to help the company evolve and grow the business globally.”
Mehas took the lead as Club Monaco shook its chinos and T-shirts identity, expanded the company globally and oversaw its corporate functions. Under his guidance, the retailer ramped up an on-trend mix of apparel and accessories, combined with nontraditional merchandising strategies that include coffee shops, bookstores and whiskey bars. Prior to Club Monaco, he held senior merchandising positions at Gap Inc. and Bloomingdale’s.
While at Club Monaco, Mehas preferred to keep a low profile and focus on innovative retail ideas, he said in an interview last year, adding, “For me, it’s all about the store and what we create, not the personality.”
After opening its first “lifestyle” store in New York’s Flatiron District in 2013, Club Monaco focused on new stores on street locations in unique or historic locations, ranging in size from 500 to 5,000 square feet. A pop-up store in Copenhagen’s much-heralded Noma restaurant and a Southampton Club Monaco store that included flea-market finds were two of his more unexpected ideas. The company also opened a London on Chiltern Street that has a café in the rear that also serves American whiskey.
At Club Monaco, Mehas made a point of working closely with both the retailer’s men’s designer and women’s designer to ensure the fashion is on target. Like Burch, Mehas is known to take an all-encompassing approach to branding and retail. “For me, it’s not about the clothes, but the environment and the extensions,” he said in last year’s interview. “All the stores are artisanal and different and we partner with the local communities.”
In tune with “how people want to dress today” and their preference “to mass to couture and everything in between,” Mehas has said that price is not the tipping point with shoppers. “You can’t be inexpensive enough and you can’t win solely on price,” he said last year. “Where you can win is on creativity, brand DNA and storytelling.”
Mehas’ departure from Ralph Lauren Corp. is the latest management change at the group, which is undergoing a major transformation under new ceo Stefan Larsson aimed at speeding its processes and focusing on its core brands.