It’s been common knowledge for quite some time that J.Crew Group Inc. is in the market for a buyer. For one, the company’s chairman and CEO Mickey Drexler, the driving force of Gap Inc.’s booming success in the 1990s, has remained incredibly open in regards to J.Crew’s potential sale. Companies ranging from the Japanese parent of Uniqlo, Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., and Zara’s umbrella group, Inditex, have all been rumored to be interested in J.Crew—which poses a broader question that directly relates to us, the consumers: What’s going to happen to Drexler?
Having helmed J.Crew since 2002, Drexler has provided what Women’s Wear Daily deemed the "magic touch" in terms of mass-market retail. As one retailer observer so succinctly told WWD, "What Mickey Drexler is, is vision." However powerful of a statement this may be, it does represent a mindset that could be potentially problematic if he "might only remain in his role for a few more years after a sale," as suspected.
With this in mind, WWD makes a valid case for J.Crew’s president and executive creative director, Jenna Lyons, to take the helm when the time comes. Drexler’s already alluded to it, after all. In a April 2011 interview with Bloomberg Television, Drexler responded quite positively when asked if Lyons could, in fact, succeed him: "Well how could you say no, right? I mean, I don’t know if she’s going to be watching this or not, but sure."
At 69, a slower lifestyle may not be at the forefront of Drexler’s mind, though we can only assume it’s something left to consider. As one banker told WWD: "Mickey likes to talk about succession and having succession, but I don’t think he really wants succession."
Either way, our money’s on Lyons.