It's always inspiring to see great leadership; the kind that makes you feel you are in the presence of genius, that seems to cultivate creativity and inspire excellence.
Yes, Mickey Drexler I'm flattering you in an obvious attempt to get hired!
Call me shameless, but after you watch "J. Crew and the Man Who Dressed America" (10 p.m. Thursday and Sunday, CNBC), you'll be taken with Drexler too. The CEO and chairman of the brand is at the center of the well-done, enjoyable report by CNBC's David Faber.
Drexler is no one-hit wonder; the report shows that he has extensive retail experience. His background includes stints at Bloomingdale's and Macy's, before revitalizing Ann Taylor and the Gap. Drexler was fired from the Gap after it grew too quickly and he lost control (the growing wasn't his idea), but J. Crew brought him on and Drexler turned it into a billion-dollar company and a transformed fashionable brand. That Vogue editor Anna Wintour is included in this report speaks volumes.
Faber follows Drexler as he visits the Paramus N.J J. Crew location (its the first store in the country to get new merchandise) to illustrate Drexler's hands-on style. Drexler pays attention to the quality, placement, the floor plan -- he has a vision of how it should all go together for maximum sales. In Italy, we see Drexler source the fabric for some of the brand's pricier shirts. He even personally addresses complaints from J. Crew devotees.
Interesting too is a visit with Drexler back to his old neighborhood in the Bronx and a lunch with some old friends. No source for his particular genius is uncovered; for all his uncanny fashion sensibility and wealth, Drexler comes across as a regular guy.
Indeed, what this report reveals is that this kind of visionary leadership can come from anywhere. Unfortunately, for most of us, it doesn't come often.