H&M’s Daniel Kulle to Lead Forever 21
Just a few days after the bankrupt retailer Forever 21 was acquired by a new ownership group, Daniel Kulle, a veteran fast-fashion executive, was tapped to lead the Los Angeles–headquartered company as its chief executive officer.
Kulle has worked for the Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M for about 20 years and, most recently, served as the chief executive officer of H&M North America. According to a statement on Kulle’s hire, it was under his watch that H&M North America grew from a $1 billion company to making $4 billion in sales annually. He opened 600 stores and developed integrated e-commerce platforms in America, Canada and Mexico.
One reason for Forever 21’s bankruptcy was that the once-innovative retailer did not develop its e-commerce business to compete in a market increasingly defined by digital offerings. Kulle will bring Forever 21 up to speed on social media and digital matters, perhaps leading it to become an innovator in this field, according to a statement released by Forever 21’s ownership group, which comprises the Authentic Brands Group, a brand-development company, and mall companies the Simon Property Group and Brookfield Properties.
In addition, Kulle will develop Forever 21’s loyalty program and grow the company’s branding through pop-up events and brand experiences. He’ll also develop Forever 21’s sustainability initiatives and cultivate an ethics program for the retailer.
David Simon, the Simon Property Group’s chairman, CEO and president, said that Kulle has the right stuff to put Forever 21 on a new road.
“Knowing Daniel personally for several years, I’ve seen his tenacious working style firsthand,” Simon said in a press release. “His strategic vision and experience will build on Forever 21’s heritage and undoubtedly usher in a new era for the brand.”
Kulle will be relocating to Los Angeles from New York. He said that Forever 21 has a good foundation to move in a new direction.
“Forever 21 enjoys strong brand awareness and affinity, a clear consumer set and quick-to-market capabilities, allowing the brand to be nimble and leverage key trends and create strong value for its customers,” Kulle said in a statement. “The strong ownership structure, which combines ABG’s marketing prowess with Simon’s and Brookfield’s retail-real-estate expertise, creates a foundation for long-term growth.”