Most of us have seen the recent musical chairs in the fashion industry recently and have also seen major fashion CEOs being replaced by new technology leaders. This is just the beginning. At a recent conference called “The Future of the Retail C-Suite,” where WWD and Berglass and Associates attended, this technology take-over was the main topic. The conference “included the views of 127 industry executives, nearly a third of them presidents or ceo’s of their own organizations and another 30 percent holding the title of vice president, senior vice president or executive vice president.”
All participants were asked what industry they thought the new fashion industry leaders should be from, technology was the top answer. Being a “strong vision” leader and having a “global perspective” were also seen as most important traits in new CEOs. They also spoke about how experiences between brick and mortar stores and online stores should be a more “seamless” omnichannel experience. They spoke of how right now, many retailer’s websites and actual physical stores look completely different and that should just not be the case. Retailers are finding customers using all three platforms to shop their brands: physical stores, websites and mobile apps when available, so with the change of retail, we must also see change in the people who run these fashion houses.
“Paralleling the responses about leadership qualifications, 72 percent of respondents who expect changes in board composition expect future directors to have technology backgrounds, 64 percent expect them to have global experience and 53 percent expect they will come from outside of retail.”