John Idol, Michael Kors (KORS)
Sydney Finkelstein is associate dean at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. Each year he produces a list of the worst CEOs. In 2013, he also produced a list of the best. Not surprisingly, Jeff Bezos was at the top of the list. Also on the list is the relatively unknown CEO of Michael Kors (KORS).
John Idol, along with a Hong Kong-Based private equity firm, acquired fashion label in 2003 for $100 million. At the time, KORS had just $20 million in revenue and was losing money. Idol, who had executive stints at Donna Karan, Anne Klein and Ralph Lauren (RL), went to work turning around KORS’ business.
In the span of eight years, Idol took KORS from a struggling brand to one of the world’s most dominant — not an easy thing to do in such a fickle fashion world. Going public in December 2011 at $20 per share, its stock is up more than 385% in a little over two years.
Revenue for fiscal 2013 is expected to be $3.2 billion with a pre-tax profit of slightly less than $1 billion. Idol was paid $14.3 million in 2012, which includes $6.6 million in stock and option awards. The man’s become very rich turning around KORS; his 4.9 million shares are worth almost $500 million.
Idol took a broken business and made it into a fashion dynamo with margins more than double those of the NFL. I’m sure his private equity partners think he could run the NFL.