NEW YORK — With some ambitious growth goals in mind, Donna Karan Co. has named Mary Wang as president of its DKNY women’s businesses.
Wang, who was with the powerful bridge label at its start six years ago, is currently with Blooming-dale’s, where she is vice president and divisional merchandise manager of junior and contemporary sportswear.
She takes over her new job on Feb. 1 and will report to Steve Ruzow, president and chief operating officer of Donna Karan Co.
Wang succeeds Denise Seegal, who, as reported, left as DKNY president in December after guiding the growth of the business since its beginning. Seegal left to join Calvin Klein Inc., where she is heading a combined CK women’s and men’s bridge business. Wang’s responsibilities will include DKNY clothing, DKNY jeans and DKNY petites. The DKNY accessories that had also been under Seegal will now have a separate president to be named by the end of the month, Ruzow said. DKNY men’s wear continues to be headed by George Ackerman as president.
Before her post at Bloomingdale’s. Wang was vice president of merchandising at DKNY from October 1989 to February 1994. Earlier, she was with Ralph Lauren Womenswear, a licensed division of Bidermann Industries USA, where she started in February 1984 as vice president of merchandising and foreign production and became senior vice president before joining DKNY.
The 40-year-old executive started her career in 1978 at Bloomingdale’s, as an assistant buyer and moved up to become a divisional merchandise manager for its flagship store in certain areas of ready-to-wear.
One of the key factors in Wang’s appointment was her knowledge of the company, as opposed to bringing in “somebody with a huge learning curve ahead of them,” pointed out Ruzow in a telephone interview Sunday.
“She brings in an incredible amount of experience, having been with DKNY at its inception,” he said. “She has a very good working relationship with the design, production and sales groups.”
At the same time, he added, “she will bring in new thinking and fresh ideas from retail.”
DNKY, he pointed out, “is a $250 million wholesale business and we want to continue to build it. I think there’s a tremendous opportunity to take DKNY to the next level.”
Asked what he saw as the “next level,” Ruzow responded: “I see the DKNY women’s division capable of being a half-billion dollar business in the next five years.”
Citing one example of potential growth, Ruzow said, “There’s a lot of opportunity in DKNY clothing. We’re looking at greatly expanding the Essentials part of it [the label’s group of basics] and splitting that out.”
For her part, Wang said: “It’s a great challenge, and I think with Donna [Karan] and the entire company, we have the product to get it there.
“There’s a strong foundation at the company for that kind of growth,” she added, citing the potential in U.S. and international business.