John D Idol Wikimedia Commons

John D Idol

Chief Executive, Michael Kors

The seasoned fashion executive spent a crucial decade taking American brand Michael Kors back to profitability and drove its successful 2011 IPO.

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American fashion executive John D. Idol has been chief executive officer of luxury fashion brand Michael Kors since 2003 and played an instrumental role in the company’s turnaround from unprofitability to its 2012 IPO, which valued the company at approximately $1 billion.

“It was losing money and probably would have gone out of business had we not bought it,” said Idol to Bloomberg in 2012 of the then-struggling business, which designer Michael Kors founded in 1984. Idol acquired the Michael Kors business for $100 million in 2003, when revenue totaled $20 million, along with Hong Kong-based private equity firm Sportswear Holdings. Sportswear Holdings is controlled by apparel moguls Silas Chou and Lawrence Stroll, who successfully backed another American fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger some decades ago.

Since then, both sales and profitability ballooned. Idol, who is a former chief executive of Donna Karan, helped reposition the brand as a classic, American “jet-set” lifestyle company, and Kors’ sportswear-influenced designs began to attract international attention. In late 2012, the company went public after five consecutive years of same-store sales growth and strong profitability every quarter. The IPO also saw Idol take on the chairman role. He still retains 1 percent of the company’s shares and has sold shares for upwards of $400 million since the public offering.

Earlier in his career, Idol also held senior positions at Ralph Lauren.

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