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J.C. Penney Wins Battle; Struggles Remain

Excerpt from WWD.com – 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 WWD.com subscription required)
Article by Vicki M. Young and Lisa Lockwood

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Who Might Succeed Christine Day at Lululemon?

Excerpt from WWD.com – 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 WWD.com subscription required)
Article by Alexandra Steigrad

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Reed Krakoff Exiting Coach to Focus on Own Line

Excerpt from WWD.com – 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 online.WSJ.com – 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 WSJ.com subscription required)
Article by Joann S. Lublin

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Women at Work: Fashion’s Glass Ceiling Prevails

Excerpt from WWD.com – 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 WWD.com – 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 WWD.com subscription required)