Caryn Lerner, Operating Partner
Caryn is an accomplished retail executive with diverse experience leading department stores, specialty retail, wholesale and direct-to-consumer global brands and businesses. She has a proven track record of delivering top and bottom line growth and is widely recognized for her strategic leadership skills and commitment to the customer experience. Caryn appreciates style, brand management and brand equity and is able to translate these throughout an organization. Her ability to recruit, develop and retain strong management teams that operate with clear objectives, has allowed the companies she has worked for to deliver record results.
Caryn currently serves on the Boards of Harrys of London and AEROSOLES, and has held senior level management positions at leading world retail organizations, including Holt Renfrew, Ltd., Escada (USA), Inc., QVC Networks, Jones New York, Bloomingdale’s and Daffy’s.
Caryn served as President and CEO of Holt Renfrew, Ltd. in Toronto, Canada from 2004 to 2010. Revenues grew > 43% during Caryn’s tenure at Holt. Under her leadership, the company launched its own Men’s and Women’s Shoe business which previously had been run for 17 years by a licensee partner. This represented more than $50.0M in sales and $7.0M in profit in the first full year of operation.
Her ability to integrate visual, marketing and merchandising strategies enabled the successful re-branding of Holt Renfrew: an internet site and Facebook pages were launched; new flagship stores in Vancouver and Calgary were built; and many new Designer brands added. She developed comprehensive sales and service programs, which resulted in an increase in the number of sales associates who delivered $1.0 million in annual sales from nine to 60. In addition, Personal Shopping Services grew from 2% to 8% of sales.
Holt Renfrew was named by Deloitte & Touche in the “Top 50 Best Managed Companies in Canada” in 2007, 2008, and 2009, and was included in the Globe and Mail’s “Top 50 Employers of Choice in Toronto” list in 2006.
Caryn re-built the Escada brand in North America during the late 1990s – early 2000s as President and Chief Marketing Officer. Her ability to understand different markets and customers – translating their needs into short and long term strategies – led to record years of sales and profits for the USA subsidiary in 1999 and 2000.
Caryn has demonstrated her commitment to the community by fostering talent through her Board seat on the Advisory Council of Canada’s Ryerson School of Fashion, as well as in her role as President of the Retail Cabinet for the United Way from 2005 – 2008. She was appointed to the Board of Directors of HSBC Bank Canada, one of the world’s leading and largest banking and financial services organizations. She was named Toronto’s Woman of Influence in 2007. In addition, Caryn has been a speaker at the Harvard Graduate School and at numerous industry events.