Retail and Private Brand were the stars Tuesday night in “Navigating the New Leadership Landscape: Retail” the second installment of CNBC’s five-part prime time global series “Executive Vision.”
CNBC has structured the show as an executive strategy roundtable, featuring an impressive mix of prominent CEO and senior level guests. This episode included: Tommy Hilfiger, Founder and Principal Designer, Tommy Hilfiger Group; Steve Sadie, Chairman and CEO, Saks; Kendall Powell, Chairman and CEO, General Mills; Sir Martin Sorrell, Founder & CEO, WPP Group; and Tom Stemberg, Founder & Former CEO, Staples, Managing General Partner, Highland Consumer Fund.
In addition to the roundtable, the series digs deep into topics with magazine-style feature pieces. Tuesday’s show featured a look at the current Private Brand trend through the lens of Costco, and included an interview with Costco CEO, Jim Sinegal. This was followed by a glimpse into a brainstorming session led by Ted Flinn, Director of Brand Strategy and Marketing at Daymon Worldwide and comments from Alex Miller, president of Daymon.
The show really took off when the retail lords of the roundtable discussed Private Brands. This was great conversation with a touch of tension that you knew would be present considering the players. Watching Tommy Hilfiger banter with Kendall Powell of General Mills was fascinating, as was the interaction between former Staples CEO, Tom Stemberg and Saks CEO Steve Sadove. The recognition that Sak’s had introduced a successful premium men’s Private Brand with their “Men’s Collection” seemed a little disconcerting to the well-spoken Hilfiger. Meanwhile Powell made the observation that if you were the # 4 or # 5 brand you were in a very precarious position. As well as the statement that General Mills had “abolished the words Private Label because we believe it is dismissive.”
If I can get my hands on the show I will post it or a link to it here, if you are involved in Private Brands it was a great coming of age for the red headed step child of branding. The entire roundtable truly acknowledged that Private Brands are a significant competitor.