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CEOs like Mickey Drexler and Steve Jobs earned a reputation for speaking their mind. Drexler said in an interview with FT’s Vanessa Friedman that he and Jobs both had a lot of “passionate arguments.”In one instance Drexler lost a passionate argument.
This occurred when he was CEO of Gap and gave in to pressure to expand rapidly in the U.S..
Drexler told Friedman this compromise was his biggest mistake:
He gets what he wants, as he often does, but not always. Which brings me back to the question of his biggest mistake and the emails and phone calls that followed our lunch. While we were eating, Drexler had told me that he tried not to work on the weekends but that he did think. After our lunch he had been thinking about the mistake question and reading the news about Gap closing stores in America to expand in China. That had made him realise what his mistake was. So, though he was in California, he called to tell me. The mistake happened when he was at Gap and the brand was undergoing a “rapid expansion”, increasing its real estate holdings by almost 70 per cent, a move he opposed but ultimately oversaw. Now he says, “I didn’t fight the board hard enough to stop it. I should have fought harder.” He isn’t blaming them for a bad decision; he’s blaming himself for caving in.
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