J. Crew's same-store sales fell 8% past year, following a 10% plunge in 2015. "J.Crew has tremendous opportunity to play a more meaningful role in our lives, and I look forward to leading it through its next phase of growth". Drexler, who will stay on as chairman, invested $100 million into J. Crew and owns 10% of the company. Lyons, who had been considered the creative mastermind behind the brand's rise in the early 2000s, will remain with J.Crew as a creative advisor until her contract expires in December 2017.
That might partially explain the shake-up, but we wouldn't blame Drexler and Lyons for wanting a break from a retailer of J.Crew's scale, either. The brand has been the subject of bankruptcy rumors because of its $2 billion debt load, some of which will become due next year. Brett will assume the CEO position this July and will also join the Company's Board of Directors.
"As chairman and an owner of the company, it is my responsibility to focus on the future of J. Crew and find the right leadership to execute on our strategic plans", Drexler said in Monday's statement.
Drexler continued, "Jim has a proven track record of pushing for innovation and growing omni-channel brands".
Incoming CEO James Brett has been West Elm's President for seven years, schlepping poofy couches in tasteful shades of eggplant and presiding over the furniture retailers move into the hotel business. Together, Drexler and Lyons boosted J.Crew's fashion cred-and they grew the sales figures to back it up.
Brett most recently served as President of West Elm, a member of the Williams-Sonoma, Inc. portfolio, since 2010, where he oversaw all aspects of the brand.
Brett was previously chief merchandising officer for Urban Outfitters, and he held various roles at Anthropologie, J.C. Penney Co. and May Department Stores Co.
Brett's first crack at turning around J.Crew will come with the summer 2018 line, according to a source.