This is for linking to press mentions of E.A. Hughes or quotes by Elaine or other staff members.


Todd Kahn Steers Coach Into the Future

By Kellie Ell

Photo Credit: A Coach store, Sipa USA via AP

Coach has appointed a captain to help steer the brand into the future.

Parent company Tapestry Inc. said Thursday that Todd Kahn is now the permanent chief executive officer and Coach brand president, effective immediately. Kahn has been acting as interim CEO of the apparel, accessories and footwear brand since last July.

But the search for a permanent leader at Coach began even before that, in early 2020, when former Coach CEO and brand president Joshua Schulman departed. At the time, Tapestry said it was casting a wide net, conducting a global search for the much coveted role of Coach’s top job. More than a year later, the company has decided to place its bets on Kahn.

Tapestry’s CEO Joanne Crevoiserat said in a statement that Kahn is “the right person to lead Coach, partnering closely with me and the senior management team as we continue to advance our Acceleration Program.”

Others in the industry, who are familiar with Kahn’s track record, have taken note, too.

“Todd has developed as a well-rounded strategic executive within Tapestry and I am glad they recognized it,” Elaine Hughes, a veteran headhunter who helps place executives in senior-level roles, told WWD. “Todd, as an executive, is probably one of the most collaborative executives that I’ve ever met. He knows how to work with other people. And I’m not saying that he’s not competitive. But he is competitive in the most respectful manner.

“He has a legal and finance background and he’s operated businesses before,” she continued. “He’s someone in a leadership role who is a great listener. He’s an executive who knows what he doesn’t know. Todd’s job is not to say whether it’s going to be a leather season or a print season. That’s the job of his chief creative director. But from a strategic standpoint, Todd’s going to understand what’s the best distribution for the brand, how to maintain the brand’s integrity, to really focus on how the consumer has evolved. He’s already been successful at all of these things. I don’t really know who else out there has that kind of combination of success as a leader, plus long-term familiarity with the company.”

Hughes also pointed out that Kahn was part of the team that helped revive Coach around 2014 or 2015 when it began to lose market share to rival Michael Kors, which is now owned by Capri Holdings.

Kahn joined Coach in 2008 as senior vice president, general counsel and secretary. He’s also held the roles of chief legal officer, company secretary and president and chief administrative office. Kahn began leading the revenue generating business units of Coach in March 2020.

As CEO and Coach brand president, Kahn is responsible for all aspects of the brand and will report directly to Crevoiserate. His base pay is $950,000 a year, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. He is also eligible for a target bonus of 125 percent of his salary under Tapestry’s Performance-based Annual Incentive Plan.

Kahn’s arrival in Coach’s corner office isn’t the first time the fashion firm has made changes to its leadership team. In fact, the entire Tapestry C-suite has undergone massive transformation over the last three years. Former Tapestry CEO Victor Luis was ousted from his post in September 2019 after delivering disappointing results. But it wasn’t because of the Coach brand. In fact, Coach is the retailer’s most lucrative business. It was Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman that had declining sales, even pre-pandemic.

Either way, the entire company was on shaky ground and needed a new leader. Jide Zeitlin was named interim CEO in September 2019 and then permanent CEO in March 2020. At the time, Zeitlin promised to stay with the company for at least three years. But a few months later, Zeitlin abruptly resigned over past #MeToo allegations.

Crevoiserat was named interim CEO in July 2020. She was appointed to the permanent position last October.

But it wasn’t just Tapestry’s head honcho that has been in rotation. The CEOs at all three brands have left or been replaced in the last two years. Kate Spade also recently said it was reorganizing its creative organizational structure, with the departure of former creative director Nicola Glass. (The brand is currently conducting a search for a new creative director.)

“It’s a situation where they need some stability,” said David Swartz, equity analyst of consumer equity research at Morningstar. “And if Crevoiserat is comfortable with [Kahn] as CEO of Coach, that certainly helps him get into the permanent position.”

Meanwhile, Coach continues to be Tapestry’s biggest brand — and best asset.

While revenues at all three brands declined in the most recent quarter, sales at Coach still topped more than $1 billion, compared with $375 million at Kate Spade and $84.5 million at Stuart Weitzman. Coach has also had a successful partnership with Tmall. During China’s Singles’ Day on Nov. 11, Coach was rated the number-one brand for handbags, luggage and leather goods on the platform, helping grow revenues by more than 30 percent during the quarter, year-over-year, in mainland China.

In addition, Coach has employed a number of well-known celebrity ambassadors, such as Jennifer Lopez and Michael B. Jordan, to help grow brand awareness.

Swartz pointed out that growth in handbags — even during the pandemic — has benefited Coach.

“There’s still a lot of interest in designer bags,” he said. “And Coach’s position of being above lower-tier brands, but below luxury brands, still seems to be a pretty strong category.”

Coach also made gains thanks to its direct-to-consumer model, which placed less emphasis on its wholesale operations, compared with some competitors.

“So when the crisis hit over the past year and with the ongoing turmoil with the department stores, it hasn’t affected Coach to the same degree that it has some others,” Swartz said.

“We’ve seen a big increase in Coach’s online sales,” he added. “They’ve changed the online model so that they’re not dumping as much stuff online at low prices as the bargain sites, or the outlet sites. They’re not using the online as just a dumping ground for stuff they couldn’t sell in stores, which probably in the past has hurt the brand and hurt pricing. It’s really all about protecting the brand and keeping the brand strong, making sure bags are not discounted.”

Kahn’s next steps, Swartz said, will be to continue to develop Coach in China, as well as growing other categories.

“Handbags are still the bread and butter of the brand and I don’t think that’s going to change,” he said. “There are some things that are out of Coach’s control, like the international travel and the airport business, which has been very disrupted by the virus. But if they can build up the footwear business that would be incremental, as well as the other Coach apparel [categories].

“And it needs to continue to grow the brand in China — where it already does well — but can get even bigger over the next few years as the market continues to grow as people expect as millions more Chinese move into the middle class,” Swartz said. “Most of the growth in the luxury world is going to come from China. It’s an extremely profitable market, because the prices are high and the operating expenses are relatively low.”

Shares of Tapestry, which closed up 1.83 percent Thursday to $46.25, are up approximately 220 percent, year-over-year.

For the original article, visit: WWD.

E.A. Hughes & Co. Places Chief Merchandising Officer at JCPenney

E.A. Hughes & Co. is pleased to announce our partnership with JCPenney in placing Michelle Wlazlo as their new Chief Merchandising Officer.

As seen on JCPenney Newsroom February 28, 2019.

PLANO, Texas – (Feb. 28, 2019) – J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP) today announced the appointment of three highly talented leaders who will play an instrumental role in the Company’s pursuit of operational excellence and sustainable profitable growth.

Effective March 1, Michelle Wlazlo will join the Company as executive vice president, chief merchant, reporting to Jill Soltau, chief executive officer of JCPenney. Wlazlo brings 30 years of merchandising and stores experience to JCPenney from a variety of respected apparel and accessory retailers. Most recently she served as senior vice president of apparel and accessories merchandising at Target Corporation where she helped lead the company’s strategy and implementation of a robust merchandising program that included transforming the presentation of 1,400 stores and launching 15 new private brands.

Prior to Target, Wlazlo spent 19 years at GAP, Inc. in a variety of roles, most recently as senior vice president GAP global merchandising across all brand divisions including women’s, men’s, kids, baby, body and fit. Over the course of nearly two decades, she held multiple merchandising roles of increasing responsibility for Gap, Gap Outlet and Old Navy. She began her career at Saks Fifth Avenue as a department manager before assuming store leadership and buying roles at Bebe Stores, Inc.

Among those reporting to Wlazlo include Jodie Johnson, senior vice president, general merchandise manager for women’s apparel and interim general merchandise manager for home; Angela Swanner, senior vice president, general merchandise manager for center core, which includes salon and Sephora inside JCPenney; Jeff Useforge, senior vice president, general merchandise manager for men’s and children’s; and Val Harris, senior vice president, product design and development.

The Company also announced that it has filled two additional key senior executive positions:
• John Welling will join the Company on Feb. 28 as senior vice president, planning & allocation, reporting to Therace Risch, executive vice president, chief information officer and chief digital officer. Welling brings over 25 years of experience in retail and consulting, most recently serving as senior vice president of merchandise operations for The Michaels Companies where he led planning, pricing, inventory management and merchandise finance. Prior to The Michaels Companies, he spent over a decade at Walmart serving in executive positions of increasing responsibility, and was a partner at Accenture for their North American retail practice.

• Mark Stinde will join the Company on March 4 as senior vice president, asset protection, reporting to Mike Robbins, executive vice president, chief stores and supply chain officer. Stinde has over 23 years experience in loss prevention and store operations, and is a leading retail expert in asset protection, safety and security. He has a proven track record of significantly reducing shrink levels at leading national retailers. Stinde joins JCPenney from 7-Eleven where he most recently served as vice president of asset protection. He has held various leadership positions of increasing responsibility at Toys ‘R’ Us, The Home Depot, Sears, and Circuit City.

“I’m delighted to announce that these three highly accomplished and esteemed retail experts are joining our organization. Each of these executives will play a meaningful role in our Company’s evolution as we work to build our operational capabilities,” said Soltau. “I’m confident that the addition of our newly appointed leaders will inspire the level of progress and momentum needed to deliver a compelling and rewarding shopping experience for our customers and position JCPenney for success.”

To download a copy of this news release, and access company information, bios and photos, please visit:

Solomon Page Changes the Recruitment Landscape for Fashion, Retail, and Beauty Markets

The Company Acquires Retained Executive Search Firm E.A. Hughes & Co.

NEW YORK, NY, January 28, 2019—Solomon Page, a specialty niche provider of staffing solutions and executive search, announces the acquisition of E.A. Hughes & Co., a leading retained executive search firm servicing the retail and consumer markets. Founded by Elaine Hughes in 1991, E.A. Hughes & Co. has advised clients in their strategic growth initiatives through a unique and comprehensive approach to the search process.

The E.A. Hughes team will continue to be led by Elaine Hughes and will join the Fashion & Beauty Division of Solomon Page, led by Sue Lamoreaux and Patty Hoban Scott in the full-time and freelance fashion markets, respectively. This will further complement the excellent reputation the company holds both geographically and strategically.

“I am thrilled by the synergy this acquisition will provide to each of our clients,” said Elaine Hughes. “It will allow the team to deliver unpreceded talent acquisition encompassing the C-suite executive placements to temporary hires from a single source”.

Sue Lamoreaux adds, “We are very excited to have the opportunity to partner with Elaine and her team. She has influenced the careers of many senior executives in retail and fashion and advocated for women in the industry by example and involvement in many organizations during the past three decades.”

Simultaneously Solomon Page has increased its capabilities in the beauty segment, recently adding Lisa Berger to the team to spearhead the expansion. Ms. Berger has a proven track record in strategic talent acquisition and will advise beauty brands as they seek to build their organizations, in addition to providing relevant content and access to diverse channel partnerships.

“In the ever-evolving landscape of human capital and business models, our goal is to adapt to shifts in the marketplace and create a multi-faceted approach to our clients,” said Lloyd Solomon, Founding Partner and Managing Director of Solomon Page. “Our existing footprint coupled with E.A. Hughes’ established presence uniquely qualifies us as a progressive and forward-thinking brand in the new world of the retail, fashion, and beauty industries. Additionally, our strong and longstanding relationships in the financial services and private equity communities, led by Founding Partner and Managing Director Scott Page, uniquely position our firm as a strategic partner and advisor during this transformational time in the industry.”


About Solomon Page
Founded in 1990, Solomon Page is a specialty niche provider of recruiting and executive search solutions across a wide array of functions and industries. A privately held $185+ million organization, Solomon Page has over 275 employees and ten office locations in the US. The depth of its recruiting resources extends across executive search, direct hire, temporary staffing, and project-based consulting.

Media Contact
Rachel Tigges

WWD EXCLUSIVE: Solomon Page Acquires E.A. Hughes & Co.

As seen on WWD, January 28, 2019.

Solomon Page, a $185 million staffing and executive search firm servicing 14 different sectors, has acquired E.A. Hughes & Co., a retained executive search firm.

“Our primary driver of growth historically has been organic,” said Lloyd Solomon, a founding partner and managing director of Solomon Page. “We attract experienced people, add to the team and build our service offerings. But selectively, when we see something we consider unique and special and circumstances coincide, we will do an acquisition and incorporate their team into ours to create a bigger family and better services for clients.

“We’ve done about four acquisitions over our 28-year history, in health-care executive search, the publishing search space, in the legal staffing world and technology,” Solomon said. “E.A. Hughes really extends our reach in the fashion retail consumer goods space and becomes a division. They retain their group, and operate autonomously and collaboratively with our existing fashion team.”

Solomon added that E.A. Hughes’ expertise in c-suite searches complements Solomon Page’s strength in full-time recruitment and freelance hiring, thereby providing Solomon Page with a “broader” approach.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The E.A. Hughes team of eight will continue to be led by Elaine Hughes, who founded E.A. Hughes & Co. in 1991. The boutique executive search firm has been serving the retail, apparel, footwear, beauty, home and e-commerce sectors, among others.

She reports to Solomon, and joins Solomon Page’s fashion and beauty division, led by managing directors Sue Lamoreaux and Patty Hoban Scott.

“Elaine has influenced the careers of many senior executives in retail and fashion and advocated for women in the industry by example and involvement in many organizations during the past three decades,” Lamoreaux said.

Hughes underscored the “synergies” accomplished by combining the two firms, and that the deal gives Solomon Page a broader scope of talent acquisition encompassing Csuite executive search, mid-level searches, as well as staff jobs such as sales associates.

As Hughes sees it, inadequate search is a big factor behind the industry’s high rate turnover at the c-suite level. Many search firms, she suggested, neglect conducting the proper “deep dive” into the candidate’s functional talents, experience and E.Q. to determine whether he or she is a good fit for the organization doing the recruiting and its culture. “No one really assesses it all,” Hughes said.

Recently, Lisa Berger, formerly with the 24 Seven recruitment agency, joined Solomon Page to launch its beauty segment.

“In the ever-evolving landscape of human capital and business models, our goal is to adapt to shifts in the marketplace and create a multifaceted approach to our clients,” Solomon said.

The New York-based Solomon Page, founded in 1990, has 275 employees, 10 offices in the U.S., and one in London. Scott Page is also a founding partner in the company and managing director.

Article by David Moin on January, 28 2019

WWD EXCLUSIVE: Solomon Page Acquires E.A. Hughes & Co.

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Rocky start for Coach comeback

Excerpt from Crain’s New York Business – November 10,  2014

“Coach did a phenomenal job at marketing their brand at their price point, and they were the only game in town,” said Elaine Hughes, who runs retail-executive search firm E.A. Hughes & Co. “Now someone’s come in and it’s competition.”


Rocky start for Coach comeback
Article by Adrianne Pasquarelli

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Art Peck to Succeed Glenn Murphy at Gap

Excerpt from – October 8, 2014

Elaine Hughes, president of executive search firm E.A. Hughes & Co., noted that “Glenn was not a conventional choice for the ceo role and came under fire from Wall Street for not showing results fast enough. However, his strategic approach to reviving the business’ profitability proved Wall Street wrong.”

Hughes said Peck’s recent roles at Gap have “provided him with the experience to navigate through the complexity of the hyperglobal environment of tech-induced consumerism. Product is important, but the environment and mechanism to satisfy the customer are critical. Art gets that.”


Art Peck to Succeed Glenn Murphy at Gap (paid subscription to required)
Article by David Moin


Help wanted: These 9 retailers need a CEO

Excerpt from CNBC – July 21, 2014

Elaine Hughes, founder and CEO of executive search firm E.A. Hughes, said the problem is far too prevalent in the industry.

“Part of the [retail CEO’s] responsibility is to create succession planning,” Hughes said. “They get a little confused, particularly in publicly traded companies. They think the name on the door is theirs and it’s not.”

…But another factor behind retail’s more limited talent pool is that many young people with financial knowledge opt to work on Wall Street or in private equity, she said.

“A lot of young people don’t necessarily see retail as a burgeoning career,” E. Hughes said.


Help wanted: These 9 retailers need a CEO
Article by CNBC’s Krystina Gustafson

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Garmento Lafayette 148 aims for China

Excerpt from – June 23, 2014

“For women who want to have a contemporary, tailored fit, there’s few [options],” said Elaine Hughes, chief executive of retail executive search firm E.A. Hughes & Co. “Even in stores like [Saks and Neiman], its just private label business [the store’s own brands] at those price points.”


Garmento Lafayette 148 aims for China
Article by Adrianne Pasquarelli

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Target Faces Difficult CEO Search

Excerpt from – June 19, 2014

“Murphy would be a great hire,” said Elaine Hughes, founder and CEO of E.A. Hughes & Co. “He didn’t necessarily have a track record in the [apparel] industry when he was hired at The Gap,” she said. “But Gap understood that the company was full of merchants.” Murphy cut his teeth at Lobloaws in Canada, “a supermarket chain that delivered to the market some very good candidates,” said Hughes. “You don’t have a lot of U.S. executives with that exposure. You could look into packaged good companies. Starbucks has done a good job and Pepsi within its ranks has multi brand strategy. TJX has global distribution.”

Carol Meyrowitz, CEO of the TJX Cos. Inc., is admired for running 3,000 stores in six countries since 2007 and taking revenues from about $16 billion to about $27 billion. In fiscal 2013, revenues and profits grew by double digits. Hughes believes Meyrowitz or one of her deputies would be a good candidate for the Target job. “Carol Meyrowitz took care of the whole credit card issue,” she said. “However, [TJX executives] don’t leave so readily and the people closest to Carol Meyrowitz are are close to the succession plan.”

For most retailers, succession is just a natural part of a retail’s circle of life, but to the surprise of experts, Target didn’t have a succession plan in place. “Some companies circulate their management so they have exposure to all areas of the company,” said Hughes. Wal-Mart moves executives across departments and geographies. But Target doesn’t seem to have a very deep bench when it comes to talent.


Target Faces Difficult CEO Search (paid subscription required)
Article by Sharon Edelson

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J. Crew’s Challenge: What’s it Worth?

Excerpt from – June 5, 2014

Still, Elaine Hughes, president of executive search firm E.A. Hughes & Co., said Lyons should not be overlooked.

“The investment community needs to get over their infatuation with the single-genius theory,” she said. “Mickey Drexler’s success with J. Crew is well documented and at some point would be a great case study for students interested in a fashion career. However, Mickey is one of the few executives who has created succession planning at J. Crew with the unique partnership of Jenna Lyons and Libby Wadle. Jenna being the president and executive creative director and Libby as brand president. It is the marriage of art and science, or actually design and merchandising.”

Hughes said Drexler “stuck his neck out” by making a designer president. “In this case, the designer, Jenna has been able to permeate the organization with creativity on all levels while maintaining the business savvy to have equal responsibility to manage the operations, real estate, etc.” she said.


J. Crew’s Challenge: What’s it Worth? (paid subscription required)
Article by Evan Clark