Longtime J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler Steps Down

Longtime J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler is stepping down from his position after 14 years, effective mid-July. He will remain on board as a chairman of the company.

Drexler, who was first brought on as CEO in 2003, will be succeeded by James Brett, former president of home furnishing brand West Elm.

“This is an exciting time for J.Crew as we continue to make significant changes to position our company for long-term success,” Drexler said Monday in a release. “As Chairman and an owner of the Company, it is my responsibility to focus on the future of J. Crew and find the right leadership to execute on our strategic plans.”

Of his successor, Drexler added, “Jim has a proven track record of pushing for innovation and growing omni-channel brands. I look forward to moving into my new role and assist Jim and the team in every way possible to help ensure a smooth and successful transition.”

The news of Drexler’s departure comes just two months after Jenna Lyons, who had been with the company since 1990 — most recently as president and creative director — also stepped down from her position at the company. According to WWD, who first broke the news, it was Drexler’s own decision to step away from the company of which he owns a 10 percent stake.

With the rise of fast-fashion competitors, J. Crew has struggled to keep up, falling behind in both sales and trends. Since a sales spurt in 2011, which was largely credited to Michelle Obama, who was known to wear the brand’s dresses and flats, J. Crew has undergone a series of layoffs; in April, following Lyons’ departure, more than 250 staffers were let go at the brand’s headquarters.

Prior to joining the J. Crew team, Drexler was at Gap Inc. and credited for the brand’s surge in the 1990s. He also served as a director at Apple Inc. from 1999 to 2015.