SHAWS SET RETIREMENT FROM OSCAR DE LA RENTA
Byline: Arthur Friedman
NEW YORK — After 30 years as a partner in Oscar de la Renta Ltd. and 42 years in the industry, Gerald Shaw said Friday he will retire at the end of the year.
Shaw, 64, who is president and vice chairman of Oscar de la Renta, will continue as a consultant to the company and will remain on the board as a minority partner.
His wife, Syd Shaw, who is 61, will also retire after 22 years with the firm, where she helped pioneer the company’s traveling ready-to-wear trunk shows into a major marketing tool.
While Shaw wouldn’t comment further on the couple’s financial arrangement with the company, he and Syd reportedly will receive their current salaries for the rest of their lives.
“It’s time for us both to take a little rest, do some traveling and spend more time with our family,” said Gerald Shaw, who is generally known in the industry as Jerry.
He said they will spend the next couple of weeks vacationing at their home in the Dominican Republic, where de la Renta also has a home. The Shaws also have a house in New Canaan, Conn.
Shaw said his wife, who suffered a serious horseback-riding accident three years ago, could no longer handle the rigors of being on the road. “She’s got to slow down,” he added.
Shaw said the couple will “reevaluate and see what else we might want to do.”
“Of course, my hobby of model shipbuilding will certainly continue to be a great part of my life,” said Shaw, some of whose efforts are in naval museums.
Shaw noted that his decision to retire is also based on the fact that the firm’s international licensing and retailing strategy is well under way and will continue to expand under the new leadership of Jeffry Aronsson, who came on board in March as chief executive officer, reporting directly to chairman and designer Oscar de la Renta.
While some sources familiar with the company said this move and some other executive changes caused a rift between the Shaws and de la Renta, Shaw maintained his relationship with the designer remains amicable.
De la Renta was not available for comment.
In 1955, a year after he and Syd were married, Jerry Shaw
began working for his father, Ben Shaw, at a dress house called Jane Derby. A decade later they brought in de la Renta, then chief designer for Elizabeth Arden. The company name became Oscar de la Renta for Jane Derby. A year later, Jane Derby died, and the company was restructured as Oscar de la Renta Ltd.
In 1969, the firm was sold to publicly owned Richton International, only to be sold back to de la Renta and Ben and Jerry Shaw in 1974. After Ben Shaw retired about a year later, Jerry Shaw and de la Renta became equal partners. In the late 1980s, the deal was reportedly restructured, giving de la Renta controlling interest.
Besides running the company over the years, Jerry Shaw has been active in many industry organizations. He is a former president of the New York Fashion Council, and has been a chairman of the Fashion and Beauty Industries’ Annual City/Meals-on-Wheels benefit for several years.
Although the Shaws are retiring, the family continues to be involved in the industry. They have three children: Richard, a partner in Sully Bonnelly; Catherine, a saleswoman for the same firm, and David, a salesman for New York Fashion Trends.