News & Scoops

2009 May 22

Back To School for Sadove

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(NEW YORK) “Your brand, yourself, will be the most important thing you ever try to sell,” said Steve Sadove, Saks Fifth Avenue chairman and CEO, as he spoke to the graduating class of 2009 at the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising’s seventieth commencement, this afternoon at the Frederick P. Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center. The keynote speaker and recipient of LIM’s Distinguished Achievement Award and honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree imparted this and more wisdom to the 210 graduating seniors.

LIM president Elizabeth Marcuse (the granddaughter of the school’s founder), introduced Sadove with an equally inspirational speech, focusing on the new administration and specifically on Michelle Obama’s influence on the business of fashion. “The first lady’s apparel choices have set many designers and retailers on fire,” she said. “From her Inauguration Day ensemble designed by Isabel Toledo and Inaugural night ball gown created by Jason Wu, to the sundress from White House/Black Market that she wore on The View to the J.Crew cardigan she donned on her first trip to Europe, Michelle Obama has inspired, energized, and—to some degree—reinvented today’s world of fashion.

“I hope to give you one person’s perspective about the business of fashion,” said Sadove, before speaking about his time at General Foods USA and Bristol-Myers Squibb, the corporation behind Clairol. “Food, beauty, and retail may appear very different,” he said, but stressed that the steps to success for all are the same: “Focusing on leadership, motivating people, and delivering results. In reality, results are just the scorecard,” he said. “Leadership is what’s important.”

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