Feb 23 2023 ...
Fashion industry taps new CEOs with ambidextrous leadership skills to drive businesses forward
  • Nextail 2023 report shows retail ops experience is not enough to help businesses thrive, as digital experience grows by 33.6% compared with outgoing CEOs


Nextail has released its annual Fashion CEO report which reveals that in the face of multiple headwinds and anticipating a global slowdown, fashion is leaning in on professionals with the capability to focus on the here and now and the dexterity to pinpoint future business opportunities.

The Nextail Fashion CEO Talent & Trends 2023 Report analyzes top global CEO appointments in 2022 and provides a deep dive into the skill sets of incoming and outgoing retail executives plus comparisons from previous years.

The report uncovered five significant trends in talent recruitment in the last year and provides exclusive insights and commentary on the motivations for those moves and likely future impacts.

The Nextail 2023 CEO report found 70.3% of new CEOs have retail operations experience, 37.3% more than predecessors, while 17.7% have more supply chain experience versus outgoing CEOs.

At the same time, companies are onboarding CEOs with more digital and analytical experience to drive transformation strategies through data, bringing 33.6% more expertise in this area than predecessors. Further, 12.9% of new CEOs have experience as Chief Merchandising Officer – one of the top analytical fashion roles.

“A new type of fashion CEO is emerging that combines traditional retail operations and forward-looking data-driven leadership”, says Joaquín Villalba, Nextail CEO. “This new breed of leaders are both efficient and execution-focused while also being innovative and willing to take risks in uncertain environments,” he says.

The report uncovered additional fashion leadership trends:

  • Digital transformation is the top reason for CEO changes, accounting for 27.4% of new hires in 2022, up from 26.8% in 2021.
  • Luxury and e-commerce marketplaces saw the highest CEO rotation, accounting for 25.4% each, followed by fast fashion (14.1%).
  • Female executives accounted for 31.4% of new appointments, a 28.7% increase on 2021.

Download the Nextail CEO Talent & Trends 2023 Report.