Category Archives: Companies

J. Crew Head Departing

James Brett, an experienced executive who has been the CEO of J. Crew Group since summer 2017, is leaving the retail clothing company.

The decision for Brett to leave was mutual and pointed to the fact that the parties were “unable to bridge (their) beliefs on how to continue to evolve all aspects of the company.”

The Departure comes in the wake of a brand relaunch which has already proven to show some improvement in the company’s bottom line.

Representatives of J.Crew said four senior internal executives will take over Brett’s responsibilities, including Michael Nicholson, the company’s current president and chief operating officer.

Brett replaced Mickey Drexler in 2017 when he left the company after a long tenure there. Previous to his stint at J.Crew Brett was the head of the furniture chain West Elm.

In a statement the company declared that Brett had boosted the energy level at J.Crew and “enhanced (their) ability to relate to a broad range of consumers.”

In the statement that Brett released he said, “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.”

David Michery and Clean Transportation

Clean transportation provides a solution to the challenges of air pollution and unhealthy vehicular emissions. It’s a cause that many car companies are making a priority. David Michery, CEO of Mullen Technologies, a company that manufactures and distributes eco-friendly cars, is a leader in the field of clean transportation.

“The congestion and pollution we have been experiencing have been issues across the globe, it is not our problem only,” says David Michery.  “We have therefore prioritized studying innovation overseas in order to develop high quality and efficient solutions.” Cutting-edge, holistic solutions to the clean air crisis include manufacturing electric vehicles that use state of the art battery and energy technologies.

Although many consumers feel strongly about clean transportation, they find themselves bound by their budgets: many electric vehicles cost an upwards of 100,000 dollars. Electric vehicles tend to be luxury cars; driving an electric car is often viewed as a status symbol, reserved for the wealthy.

David Michery recognizes this reality and is pioneering a novel concept: affordable, clean transportation. “We are uniquely focusing on clean tech at an affordable price,” says Michery. “Clean transportation is good for everyone and should not become a luxury.”

David Michery, with his strong background of success, is uniquely poised to champion the cause of clean transportation. After working in the music industry for 27 years and producing more than a dozen gold or platinum records, Michery now channels his energies into the cause of clean transportation.

As the affordability of electric vehicles increases, clean transportation can become a reality.

 

America’s Second Trillion Dollar Company Emerges

Jeff Bezos courtesy of
Steve Jurvetson

Coming just a bit more than one month after Apple became the first US publicly traded company to be valued at over $1 trillion, Amazon takes second place in the race to corporate hugeness.

Amazon entered the rarefied atmosphere of trillion-dollar companies when its stock rose 1.9 percent last Tuesday to a value of $2,050.50 per share, just 23 cents beyond what it needed to reach that magic trillion dollar point. The price of Amazon’s stock has climbed by 70 percent so far this year, continuing to explode along with other US stocks in the tech sector. The milestone was fleeting however, when the stock actually closed up only 1.3 percent, not enough to keep it beyond $1 trillion.

Amazon has been doing quite well lately, pulling past other tech major players such as Alphabet, Google’s parent company, and Microsoft. Alphabet’s valuation stands at about $840.3 billion, and Microsoft’s at $854.5 billion.

In 1994 Jeff Bezos founded Amazon as an on-line bookseller. The company grew quickly to become one of the US’ most influential companies. Based in Seattle, Amazon is a leader in e-commerce, but also is expanding to other markets such as cloud computing, home security and movie production. Only Walmart hires more people, and this year’s profit so far comes to $4.1 billion. Bezos is also the owner of the Washington Post.

Bezos is the world’s richest person. As a the major beneficiary of the skyrocketing stock price, as of Tuesday, Bezos’ worth is estimated to be $166 billion.

Hain Celestial Group Reaching for the Stars with New Leadership

The Hain Celestial Group, Inc, makers of Celestial Seasonings tea, Rudi’s Organic Bread;

Courtesy of Flickr

and many other products in the healthy eating niche, is about to name a new leader.

Its been two months since founder Irwin D. Simon announced his intention to leave is post as president and chief executive officer, and now he said that the board and he are about to complete the process of choosing the person who will take his place.

“I am confident now is the right time for a next generation of leadership, and I firmly believe that some of our greatest opportunities definitely lie ahead,” Mr. Simon said.

The first task of the new president will be to bring back growth to the US division, which the company is presently in the process of “proactively reshaping,” according to Gary W. Tickle, CEO of North America. The company has been, and will continue to cut back on its product portfolio to better focus on and invest in its basic 11 brands and top 500 stock-

keeping units in the USA.

“In 2018, we achieved incremental progress in certain areas of our business from our planned growth investments,” Mr. Tickle said. “Although in total, results for the fourth quarter were below our expectations, we’ve seen positive momentum building in our outlook on core distribution from our most recent round of customer line reviews. We already have confirmed 49,000 net new points of distribution for seven of our top brands across a broad range of retailers and channels. These transformation efforts take time to show tangible results, but these initiatives are translating into improvements in our measured channel numbers.”

Good News for Hedge Fund Managers

The hedge fund industry has taken some hits in the last couple of years.  One way this was experienced was through the significant depletion of profits of hedge fund managers’ in 2016.  But today, hedge funds are generally faring much better; hedge fund managers are once again enjoying better returns with greater investment gains and fewer are losing money.

Brahman Capital Corp is one example of this.

“At its apex around two years ago, Brahman managed more than $5 billion, as principals Mitchell Kuflik and Robert Sobel bet big on hedge-fund favorite Valeant Pharmaceuticals Inc. When Valeant’s stock plummeted from $257 to $14 a share, Brahman fell in turn, as the firm reported losses and investors pulled their money. Brahman sold Valeant stock last year and with what is now $3.8 billion of remaining cash pivoted to new ideas like a stake in travel company Expedia, people close to the firm said. This year, Brahman’s main fund is up 17%, the people said.”

More than successful returns, some hedge fund managers are finding that they want to find more hedge funds in which to invest.  This sentiment was echoed by APG Group NV hedge fund manager Ronald Wuijester who said:

“We would like to invest more in hedge funds and private equity but the very best of them virtually have no capacity to accept more of our money.  We don’t want to be on a gliding scale where we accept a lower return for the same amount of risk.”

Hedge funds are back.  Compared to 2016, today’s outlook for hedge fund managers is extremely positive.