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

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Role, challenges of CEO changing quickly

Excerpt from The Journal Gazette – May 26, 2014

Elaine Hughes, founder and CEO of E.A. Hughes, an executive search firm that specializes in retailing, said Target needs to look outside the clothing industry, and can’t just use the “same Rolodex” as the retail industry keeps using.


Role, challenges of CEO changing quickly
Article by Anne D’Innocenzio, Associated Press

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Big Retailers Find It Hard Shopping for a CEO

Excerpt from – May 6, 2011

“There are not a lot of sitting CEO candidates who have had extensive experience managing both brick and mortar and online,” said Elaine Hughes, head of E.A. Hughes & Co., a small search firm that specializes in retail. Meanwhile, she said, the number of retailers seeking new leaders “is the most we have seen in five years.”


Big Retailers Find It Hard Shopping for a CEO
Article by Paul Ziobro and Joann S. Lublin

E.A. Hughes

Ann MacCarthy joins E.A. Hughes as Managing Partner to Drive International, Global Supply Chain and E-Commerce Growth

New York, Dec. 4, 2013– E.A. Hughes & Co., a leader in retained executive search focused exclusively on consumer-driven businesses including retail, apparel, home furnishings and beauty, announces that Ann MacCarthy has joined the firm as Managing Partner to drive international, global supply chain and e-commerce growth, focusing on all C-suite functions. She is based in New York.

“Ann’s search experience in the retail, e-commerce, apparel and consumer markets arena – complemented by functional expertise placing sales, marketing, merchandising and global supply chain officers – is helping to drive our growth strategy,” said Elaine Hughes, CEO of E.A. Hughes & Co. “Ann has developed quite a reputation in building a global supply chain and sourcing & production practice, which will serve our clients well. Her love of product, passion for the industry, and driving desire to please her clients are an excellent addition to our team of specialists. We are thrilled to have Ann on our team.”

With more than 20 years of experience in retail executive search, MacCarthy has helped build winning senior leadership teams at the president, C- level and one level below for multi-channel publicly traded, privately held and private equity firms spanning vertical specialty, wholesale, big box and department store sectors. Notable clients include J.C. Penney, Levi Strauss & Co., John Hardy, Farrow & Ball, and specialty retailers such as Claire’s Stores, Chico’s and Charming Shoppes.

She has chaired several organizations and been invited to speak at many industry functions. For more information about E.A. Hughes, please visit You can find more information about Ann on LinkedIn.

Ann MacCarthy
E.A. Hughes & Co.
New York Phone: +1 212-689-4600

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J.C. Penney Wins Battle; Struggles Remain

Excerpt from – August 13, 2013

Elaine Hughes, founder and ceo of E.A. Hughes & Co., a headhunting firm, said, “The candidate has to have prior experience in strategically realigning a  business. That’s the challenge, and there are not a lot of people out there….The biggest challenge is they have to assess: ‘Is this fixable? Do I want to enjoy a foundation of a successful formula or go and fix J.C. Penney?”

She said there may be people who are able to do it, but they might not want to leave their ceo jobs, such as Michael Balmuth, chairman and ceo of Ross Stores Inc., or Hicks. “What’s Ken’s incentive to go to Penney’s?” she asked. Another possibility would be Jeff Genette, chief merchandising officer of Macy’s, who’s a strong number two. But Hughes said he probably wouldn’t want to relinquish his role at Macy’s. She suggested Sadove as a possibility. “He’s very good from a leadership standpoint in managing strong people. He’s young enough and truly a professional. I would love to see him as a contender,” she said. She praised the job he’s done at Saks Inc. and in changing the store’s strategy by devoting significant space to such categories as footwear and designer handbags that have driven sales the past few years.


J.C. Penney Wins Battle; Struggles Remain (paid subscription required)
Article by Vicki M. Young and Lisa Lockwood

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Who Might Succeed Christine Day at Lululemon?

Excerpt from – June 19, 2013

“Just about anything’s open to her,” said Elaine Hughes, founder and ceo of search firm E.A. Hughes, who noted that she could take a top job at one of VF Corp.’s lifestyle brands or even go to J.C. Penney Co. Inc.

“She could be a breath of fresh air at Penney’s, but she’d be wise to look under the covers first,” Hughes said.


Who Might Succeed Christine Day at Lululemon? (paid subscription required)
Article by Alexandra Steigrad

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Reed Krakoff Exiting Coach to Focus on Own Line

Excerpt from – April 23, 2013

Elaine Hughes, owner of E.A. Hughes, an executive search firm, said, “Any company, especially one that’s publicly traded, where there’s a stall in stock price and comes a resurgence of a new brand, like a Michael Kors, when you have a change of the ceo at the top, it impacts everything.”

She said that Krakoff was an integral part of taking Coach from a leather resource to a multifabric, diverse handbag, small leather goods, footwear and apparel firm. “There are no names that pop into my head as an overall creative director because there isn’t a singular individual in any multibillion company that does it. What Reed has that is unique is he not only had a great aesthetic sense and an understanding of raw material, but he also had a good business head,” said Hughes.

“Reed, like a John Varvatos, started his career at Polo Ralph Lauren. What they saw was a creative genius that kept his hand on the product. Everything had to be approved by Ralph. That is very similar to how John Varvatos runs his business, and how Reed runs his business. There are very few people who do that, who are not a principal of a company. You can’t look at Tory Burch and say she’s a possibility because she owns the company.…Vince Camuto is a design genius, but he owns the company….It could be somebody from Europe. Europe has a lot of visionary talent. It’s a matter of who can calibrate to that and how do you commercialize that to billions of dollars,” said Hughes.

She said that under Luis, there will be an evolution of the Coach culture. “He’s a global thinker, he’s a very collaborative guy, and no matter what the company is, the culture stems from the ceo office,” she said.


Reed Krakoff Exiting Coach to Focus on Own Line
Article by Alexandra Steigrad with contributions from Marc Karimzadeh, Lisa Lockwood

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Retail Industry Short on Star Executives

Excerpt from – April 9, 2013

“The bench of potential CEOs is sparse,” said Elaine Hughes, head of E.A. Hughes & Co., a retail-industry search firm. She mainly blames retailers’ reduced spending on management training and development.


Retail Industry Short on Star Executives (paid online subscription required)
Article by Joann S. Lublin

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Women at Work: Fashion’s Glass Ceiling Prevails

Excerpt from – October 29, 2012

Elaine Hughes, president of executive search firm E.A. Hughes & Co., said women are making headway in the industry, with many running divisions of large firms.

“Most publicly traded companies have been making a concerted effort to recruit for diversity,” Hughes said. “Companies ask for documentation that the research has included a diverse candidate pool.”

And the world has become more open to the idea of female leaders, like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and German chancellor Angela Merkel.

“The globalization of media and access to limitless information has allowed young people to understand that there are choices,” Hughes said.


Women at Work: Fashion’s Glass Ceiling Prevails
Article by Evan Clark

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Industry Speaks: How to Kick-start the Job Market

Excerpt from – August 13, 2012

Elaine Hughes, president of E.A. Hughes & Co.: “The key issue is that government has to invest in training and development of mature employees, meaning those that have to change skill sets from those related to a standard brick-and-mortar model to an e-commerce direct-to-consumer model. That training would help a lot executives transition. You can’t keep running after people working for Apple or Google. Why not retrain your own and let them evolve into the environment? Government could certainly support programs at schools such as Parsons or FIT.

“IT [information technology] is like bathwater. You fill up the tub with information and then it goes down the drain. It needs to get filled up again, because it’s changing. If you are laid off and your expertise is in technology, you have to be consistently retrained in new technology or else no one wants to hire you again. There are plenty of people out there with great IT skills but don’t get new training because they were laid off.”


Industry Speaks: How to Kick-start the Job Market (paid subscription required)

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Fashion’s Talent Race: Executive Pay Soars

Excerpt from – July 30, 2012

At the end of the day, compensation should always be tied to performance,” said Elaine Hughes, president of search firm E.A. Hughes & Co.


Fashion’s Talent Race: Executive Pay Soars (paid WWD subscription required)
Article by Evan Clark