March 11, 2021 – Retailers are facing major shifts in their businesses that call for “unprecedented responses” by CEOs who can effectively lead through change, intuitively and analytically understand the evolving consumer and respond to ambiguity, according to a recent Korn Ferry report. 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 retailers now need. And so much continues to evolve as the global pandemic takes aim at the retail sector. But retail organizations still need leadership – arguably more now than ever. One example: Retail-focused executive search firm Kirk Palmer Associates recently assisted global contemporary group Vince Holding Corp. in the recruitment of Jack Schwefel as its new CEO. Mr. Schwefel, who will be based at the company’s New York headquarters, will replace David Stefko who has served as Interim CEO.
“We are delighted to announce the appointment of Jack as the CEO of Vince Holding Corp,” said Marc Leder, chairman of the board. “His strong track record of driving profitable growth combined with his expertise in developing and implementing omni-channel strategies will be ideal to continue to grow Vince. We would also like to thank Dave Stefko for his exceptional leadership as interim CEO and look forward to his continued contributions as chief financial officer.” Mr. Schwefel previously served as the CEO of Cost Plus, Inc. from 2017 to 2021 where he transformed the organization with a focus on omni-channel performance, data-driven merchandising and marketing and partnerships. Prior to Cost Plus, from 2014 until 2017, he served as the CEO for Dutch Fashion, LLC, where he initially started out as a member of the board of directors in 2012 then set out to expand the retail division across all three brands: Joie, Equipment and Current/Elliott and relaunched Current/Elliott Men.
Prior to this, he served as CEO of Sur La Table, Inc. from 2006 until 2014. Leading up to this position, Mr. Schwefel held various executive and senior management positions both domestically and internationally at multiple brands, including Gap, Esprit, Kohl’s and Toys “R” Us. Mr. Schwefel brings to the board of directors executive leadership experience in retail business for national and international brands.
“I am thrilled to be joining the company at this exciting time as we execute the next phase of growth for the Vince brand and continue to advance the progress made at Rebecca Taylor,” Mr. Schwefel said. “These are two incredible brands with tremendous potential, which are supported by extraordinary creative leadership. I look forward to working with the teams to further strengthen the foundation and drive the strategies to deliver long term profitable growth for our shareholders.”
Global Contemporary Group
Vince Holding Corp. is a global contemporary group, consisting of three brands: Vince, Rebecca Taylor and Parker. Vince, established in 2002, is a global luxury apparel and accessories brand best known for creating elevated yet understated pieces for every day effortless style. Known for its range of luxury products, Vince offers women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, footwear and accessories through 49 full-price retail stores, 15 outlet stores, and its e-commerce site, vince.com and through its subscription service Vince Unfold, www.vinceunfold.com, as well as through premium wholesale channels globally.
Since its founding in 1987, Kirk Palmer Associates has grown globally, helping retailers hire CEOs, presidents and front-of-house executives spanning a wide array of marketing, merchandising, stores, sales, e-commerce and digital leadership roles. Kirk Palmer Associates is made up of retail and fashion industry veterans. The firm’s partners have placed more than 1,000 CEOs, presidents, vice presidents and other senior executives at over 200 retail and wholesale companies across all channels, sectors and functional areas.
Kirk Palmer Associates recently assisted fashion retailer Ashley Stewart in the recruitment of Gary Sheinbaum as its new CEO. “As one of the apparel industry’s most skilled, accomplished, experienced and respected leaders, we know Gary will take Ashley Stewart to the next level and beyond as the preeminent brand that delivers uncompromising style, fashion, confidence and empowerment to the Ashley Stewart customer,” said Ashley Stewart board director Chris Larson.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media