Mickey Drexler

Top Gun


Let others drive business by the numbers only. J. Crew chief Millard “Mickey” Drexler believes that passion, gut instinct and a strong day-to-day presence are as essential at the top as a long-term strategy and a keen eye for the bottom line. The approach made him a merchant god back when he took Gap from a mere denim pusher to a haven of hip for the masses, but when the company wavered, Drexler was dumped. In 2003 he signed on with the then struggling J. Crew and turned it around, last year presiding over one of the most successful retail IPOs ever. And the good times continue to roll. “I do what I do because I love it,” Drexler says. “Nothing is more important to me than trying to do best by our customers.” Of course, he adds, “The ticket to fun is first making money.”

Monica May