As comebacks go, they don’t get much sweeter than the one Millard “Mickey” Drexler, 62, engineered at J. Crew Group. The former Gap CEO not only turned around the once-struggling J. Crew, but also re-made it into one of the hottest fashion chains around. Drexler improved the quality and styles of the J. Crew offering, and gave it a more luxurious tint by adding higher-end pieces to the mix. He brought in new merchandise categories, and is expanding the company’s retail portfolio with new formats.
A merchant through and through, Drexler runs his business on passion, gut instinct and an attention to detail that is legendary throughout the industry. It’s all paying off for him big time at J. Crew: After presiding over one of the most successful retail IPOs ever, Drexler has watched as the company’s fortunes—and his own—have soared. It’s a measure of his stock that Drexler is No. 1 on the wish lists of most industry experts and analysts whenever the top spot opens at a specialty apparel chain.