Photo: AP Images
J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler has a reputation for being a no-B.S., very hands-on manager. He famously uses an intercom system at the company’s Manhattan headquarters, and doesn’t have a problem being blunt with employees.In a new book out by Gilt Groupe co-founders Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, By Invitation Only, they describe what it was like to sit down with Drexler:
We were ushered into Mickey’s large office area, which had a big table for meetings and was out in the open, at the end of a floor of merchandisers. He sat at a corner desk near his assistant, and we sat at a large conference table, separated from his desk by a low partition. … From the beginning it felt as if he weren’t listening to a word we said. This was just his style: he simultaneously does several other things while half nodding. As we spoke, he shuffled papers, checked his BlackBerry, and wrote emails, tossing out a few mmms and uh-huhs to indicate that he was following us.
When we started describing our membership [we] finally got Mickey’s undivided attention. That was when he rolled his eyes and said something along the lines of ‘Right. Everyone makes up their demographics and prototypical customer.’ … This was when Mickey grabbed his telephone and hit the intercom. Apparently he does this all the time to make announcements across J. Crew’s many floors of office space. … He said something like, ‘Hey, I’m talking to this company, Gilt something. What is it? Oh yeah, Gilt Groupe. If anyone has ever heard of it, call me back.’ Then he slammed his phone back into the receiver.
Within minutes J. Crew executives and staffers started lining up all around their boss. Soon there were at least 50 people crowded into Mickey’s open conference area, not counting the ones who walked by, saw how crowded the office already was, and left.
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