February 23, 2022 – Retailers are facing major shifts in their businesses that call for “unprecedented responses” by leaders who can effectively lead through change, intuitively and analytically understand the evolving consumer, and respond to ambiguity, according to search consultants. Developed markets, excess retail capacity, rising prices, the shift to omni-channel retail and the unpredictable pace of change in consumer shopping habits all affect the type of leader that retailers need.
E.A. Hughes & Co., a division of Solomon Page specializing in retail and consumer-focused executive search, has partnered with apparel company Perry Ellis in identifying and placing Lynn Flynn as its chief operating officer. Managing director Ann MacCarthy led the search. “We are thrilled to have played an integral role in placing Lynn in this important role,” said Ms. MacCarthy. “It is a privilege to continue working with longstanding partners in identifying and placing exceptional talent, and I look forward to observing the future success this key placement will bring to Perry Ellis.”
Ms. MacCarthy took a unique and personalized approach based on the needs of the Perry Ellis organization, said E.A. Hughes. The team was able to assess the technical and cultural fit of candidates evaluated for the COO role as a result of behavioral interviewing, in-depth screening and a competency-based framework, which accurately defined the skills that Perry Ellis required. Ms. Flynn was identified as such based on her extensive experience and reputation within the industry.
The new COO, who is based in Perry Ellis’ New York location, will play an integral role in strategically leading the company’s licensing business. Ms. Flynn brings more than 20 years of innovative operations and licensing experience in retail and apparel industries to Perry Ellis. Most recently, she served as executive vice president of global licensing at PVH Corp. Earlier in her career, Ms. Flynn held executive positions in licensing on both the brand and agency side.
Perry Ellis International, which was founded in 1967, is a leading designer, distributor and licensor of apparel and accessories for men and women. The company owns or licenses a portfolio featuring some the leading names in fashion. These include Perry Ellis, Savane, Jantzen, Original Penguin by Munsingwear, Cubavera, Laundry by Shelli Segal, Callaway Golf Apparel, Jack Nicklaus, GrandSlam and Nike Swim. The company is headquartered in Doral, FL.
Founded in 1991 by Elaine Hughes, E.A. Hughes & Co. focuses on retail and consumer executive search. The firm serves clients in the retail and consumer apparel, home furnishings, beauty, digital, E-commerce, footwear and other industries. E.A. Hughes is headquartered in New York City. In 2019, the firm was acquired by New York-based search firm Solomon Page. “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,” said Sue Lamoreaux, managing director at Solomon Page.
These are revolutionary times for retail with COVID-19 having accelerated some fundamental trends across the sector. This has in turn created a fertile environment for the most able executives to set themselves apart and chart a course for a successful, digitally focused future, according to a new report by Melissa Reed, a consumer and retail partner lead with H.I. Executive Consulting (HIEC). “The past year has certainly rocked the retail boat and the ramifications are being felt widely, including a realization that the crisis has created great opportunities as well as challenges,’ she said. “These are right now being grasped by the sector’s most capable leaders and so in order for companies to take full advantage of the new retail landscape they must seek to invest in these sorts of individuals.”
There is no escaping the fact that it has been a tough time for retail, but some CEOs have also highlighted how invigorating it has been. “They have been able to think differently and to push through change at rapid pace,” said Ms. Reed. “They’ve also been able to initiate these changes without necessarily seeking board approval. Such actions have arguably been swept under the COVID-19 carpet.”
Ms. MacCarthy has spent more than 20 years recruiting CEOs and other C-suite and VP-level executives for her clients across all channels of distribution. “People in the retail and consumer industry sectors she serves recognize that her ability to partner effectively is built on her insider experience as CHRO for Gestetner PLC and in senior HR positions at Sara Lee and U.S. Industries Apparel Group,” E.A. Hughes said.
“I am proud of the fact the over 90 percent of the candidates I have recruited over the years have stayed with the company more than five years and made major contributions to these businesses,” said Ms. MacCarthy.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media