Craig Leavitt

Craig Leavitt

Chief Executive, Kate Spade

After 16 years at American stalwart Ralph Lauren, he was tapped to scale the colourful accessories brand after its founders departed.

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United States Executives

After 16 years at American stalwart Ralph Lauren, he was tapped to scale the colourful accessories brand after its founders departed.

Craig Leavitt's live mosaic

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Biography

Craig Leavitt joined Kate Spade as co-president and chief operating officer in 2008, a year after the founders Kate and Jack Spade left the business, selling it to Liz Claiborne for $124 million. Last year, the brand logged revenues of $461.9 million for its parent company, Fifth & Pacific Companies, Inc.

Leavitt’s first action was to look forward rather than back. “For six months we looked at where we wanted the company to be five to 10 years down the road.” Leavitt is still looking to the future, as the chief executive confidently announced at an investors meeting, “These early chapters will tell the story of a once niche brand that has grown to be an accessible luxury player, with nearly $800 million in [current] retail footprint on its way to $4 billion.”

Leavitt has overseen Kate Spade’s international expansion; the brand is now present in 16 international markets, re-launched its website in Japan, and opened a London flagship. After graduation, Bloomingdales recruited Leavitt for their executive training program. Leavitt would next move to Ralph Lauren, where he would stay for 16 years, working his way up from an outlet store manger in El Paso, Texas, to executive vice president of New York retail concepts. Leavitt left Ralph Lauren due to a shift in environment following the company going public, joining Diesel as executive vice president of retail and sales.

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