Mickey Drexler on retail creativity

From a recent RetailWire discussion about Mickey Drexler, legendary CEO of Gap and now J. Crew. The subject was Mr. Drexler’s hiring criteria and his preference for risk-takers. His appetite for risk may be the best explanation for his sterling track record:

It’s very hard to stimulate creativity among retail managers. Consolidation has led to fewer, bigger and more risk-averse companies with an eye on the next month’s sales report or the next quarter’s earnings. Middle managers (such as buyers) end up being caught up in the atmosphere of “avoid mistakes at all costs.” While Mr. Drexler may not always be able to identify creative risk-takers from their resumes, he has done a great job at every stage of his career creating the kind of risk-taking environment where retail can grow.

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