Fashion Consumer Products Insights in the Media

Members of the E.A. Hughes team are citizens of the fashion consumer products and other industry sectors we serve. And, with more than 50% of our searches at the CEO/COO/President level, we have a unique understanding of the people who make up the industry’s senior management teams. As such, not only do top retail sector companies reach out to us as business partners, industry and business media regularly seek us out for candid comment and insight on the changes and challenges facing the global marketplace.


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

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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