image: J. Crew

image: J. Crew

J.Crew announced on Monday that it has named James Brett as Chief Executive Officer. Brett, an executive with more than 25 years of retail experience, will leave West Elm to replace J. Crew’s longtime CEO Mickey Drexler, who will continue in his role as Chairman. Brett will assume the CEO position this July and will also join the Company’s Board of Directors. 

The move comes just two months after creative director Jenna Lyons left the struggling mall brand, a former go-to for prepster basics that underwent a fashion-focused makeover under the watch of both Drexler and Lyons, and subsequently fell out of favor when its loyal customers began to shun its pricey, ill-fitting new wares. 

 Mickey Drexler (left) and Jenna Lyons (right)

Mickey Drexler (left) and Jenna Lyons (right)

Unsurprisingly, Drexler characterized the move as “an exciting time for J.Crew” aimed at positioning the company “for long-term success.” He elaborated, “As Chairman and an owner of the Company, it is my responsibility to focus on the future of J.Crew and find the right leadership to execute on our strategic plans.”

Brett stated, “I’m honored to work with J.Crew’s talented team of leaders, board of directors and Mickey, who have built an iconic American brand. J.Crew has tremendous opportunity to play a more meaningful role in our lives, and I look forward to leading it through its next phase of growth.”

The past two years in particular took the form of a long series of disappointing quarters for the American retailer, and thus far, 2017 is not proving much better. Total revenues and sales have continued to slip (for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended January 28, total revenues declined 3 percent, to $2.4 billion), even as the brand has worked to reconnect with its roots in hopes of luring back some of its formerly loyal fans.