J.Crew CEO James Brett steps down after just 17 months

  • J.Crew’sCEO James (Jim) Brett is stepping down from the company.
  • Brett, who took up the position in June 2017, had been leading the charge in J.Crew’s turnaround efforts after several years of flagging sales.
  • Last quarter, J.Crew announced its return to positive same-store sales growth for the first time in four years.

The CEO of J.Crew is stepping down after just 17 months in the role.

In a statement to the press on Saturday, CEO James (Jim) Brett, who joined the company in June 2017, hinted that a clash with the board may be the reason behind his departure.

“Returning J.Crew to its iconic status required reinventing the brand to reflect the America of today with a more expansive, more inclusive fashion concept,” he said. “However, despite the recent brand relaunch already showing positive results, the Board and I were unable to bridge our beliefs on how to continue to evolve all aspects of the Company.”

A spokesperson for J.Crew declined to comment further on the reason behind Brett’s departure when contacted by Business Insider.

J.Crew will be managed by a team of four executives – chief operating officer Michael Nicholson, chief experience officer Adam Brotman, chief administrative officer Lynda Markoe and Libby Wadle, president of the Madewell brand – while the board searches for a replacement.

Brett has been leading the charge in J.Crew’s turnaround efforts after several years of flagging sales. The store had been accused of becoming unaffordable and impractical under the leadership of its former CEO, Mickey Drexler, and longtime creative director, Jenna Lyons. To combat this, Brett lowered prices, added plus-sizes, and most recently started selling its low-cost Mercantile collection on Amazon.

His strategy seemed to be paying off, as J.Crew’s same-store sales numbers turned a corner in the company’s most recent quarterly results after dropping for the last four years. In August, J.Crew’s namesake brand reported a 1% increase in comparable sales for the second quarter.

In September, J.Crew unveiled its new look with a diversity-driven ad campaign that features groups of people from creative and non-profit organisations dressed in J.Crew clothing.

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