The success or failure of organizations depends on existing leadership, a perspective that can be confirmed with organizations such as Apple and Microsoft. Good leadership influences good relationship between organizational managers and employees or other stakeholders. Millard “Mickey” Drexler is one of the few renowned leaders whose contribution to their organizations cannot be doubted. Drexler is a key figure behind the success of Gap Inc and the rapid rise of J. Crew in America’s competitive clothing and accessories retailing sector. This paper extensively examines Drexler’s leadership at Gap Inc and J. Crew with a focus on his history, rise and fall, business performance, contribution to the companies, management practices, as well as impact on the brands.
Regarding his history, Drexler was born in August 1944 to Jewish parents with the mother dying when he was 16. After completing his education at Boston University where he received an MBA, Drexler began his career as a merchandising vice-president at Abraham & Straus located in Brooklyn, New York. He was also a member of Apple Inc’s board between 1999 and 2015. While at the helm of Gap Inc, Drexler led to the company’s rapid rise and success until May 2002 when he was forced to retire following a slump in sales and disagreement with the company’s founders (Joslin et al. 3). In 2003, he was hired as the CEO of J. Crew although he stepped down in 2017 to become the company’s chairman.
Until the 1990s, Gap Inc. was little known and relatively small chain dealing with private and public brands. The arrival of Drexler saw Gap record a significant increase in sales marking the rise of both the company and Drexler. His star continued to shine when Gap’s brand was featured in numerous television advertisements and songs. However, a decrease in Gap’s sales and a clash with the company’s founders regarding his management style in May 2002 marked his fall at the company (Joslin et al. 5).
Dexter’s business performance while working for Gap Inc. can be described as both positive and negative. When he was hired to run Gap in 1983, Drexler catapulted the company to great heights from a business performance perspective by building it into an empire of more than 4200 stores. A few years later, attributed mostly to his management style, the company recorded a significant decline in sales that resulted in the loss of more than 50 percent of its stock and his eventual dismissal (Joslin et al. 7).
- Crew’s success is also as a result of Drexler’s name and fame. Of course, while working at Gap Inc, several customers were attracted to the organization because of his management and leadership style. Most of these customers have been attracted to J. Crew because of Drexler’s name and fame leading to J. Crew’s success. Being a big name, Drexler does not fear anything and enjoys what he does (Amed and Sherman n.p.), and this has contributed largely to J. Crew’s success.
Concerning management practices at Gap Inc., Dexter was widely known for his micro-management strategy where he used to call top employees into his office and shared with them rising concerns or ideas that helped shape the company. This practice has hardly changed during his time at J. Crew as he is known to consult with employees before making a decision (Amed and Sherman n.p.). His rise at J. Crew is attributed to his uncanny ability to pick up market patterns and trends quickly and bringing the trends to the consumers. He has managed to transform J. Crew into a powerful arbiter of taste to the excitement of customers. Drexler’s fall within J. Crew came in June 2017 when he failed to stop several years slide caused by a change in consumer tastes.
After his forced retirement at Gap Inc., Drexler landed at J. Crew in 2003 where he was hired as the CEO. His contributions to Gap Inc. were evident throughout America and the founders of J. Crew believed that he would lead the company to success. Drexler’s impacts on the J. Crew brand are evident in the fact that he transformed it from a low-priced American dressy-casual brand to an upscale brand (Amed and Sherman n.p.). Also, given his leadership abilities, he was a motivation to employees who later exhibited improved performance and productivity.
In conclusion, despite his the few shortfalls that led to his forced retirement at Gap Inc and eventual departure from J. Crew, Drexler remains a role model when it comes to organizational management and leadership. He remains an icon to many people who believe that his management style was behind the success of the both Gap Inc. and J. Crew.
Amed, Imran, and Lauren Sherman. “At Work With Mickey Drexler.” The Business of Fashion, 30 Apr. 2014, www.businessoffashion.com/articles/people/work-mickey-drexler.
Joslin, Richard, et al. “Gap, Inc.: Has the Retailer Lost Its Style?.” Understanding Business Strategy: Concepts and Cases (2010): 1-18. https://www.cengage.com/management/webtutor/ireland3e/cases/gap.pdf