Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Kellwood's Top Rat Jumps Ship

Former Kellwood Company CEO, Michael Kramer
A couple weeks ago when I read a few articles talking about Baby Phat's licensor filing for bankruptcy protection, I should've taken a moment to see how things are going at Kellwood Company, owners of the Baby Phat brand since 2004.  It's a mess.

Michael Kramer (that's him with Satan's overbite in the picture above), the most recent chief executive officer at Kellwood, recently departed, like two weeks ago, to take the chief operating officer position at J.C. Penney Company.  He's also now on the board at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.  No biggie, right? Wrong.  Kramer told Kavita Kumar at the St. Louis Post Dispatch this back in November when she asked him about the rumors that he was leaving Kellwood:
"But if I were to leave Kellwood, I'm not running from anything because this is a phenomenal company," he said. "There's a lot of good things going on here."
Sure, and that's why just over a year after acquiring "upscale contemporary sportswear line" Adam, Kellwood is now dropping it...right?  Because things are going so well?  Yeah, right.  This is what Kramer, the new COO at J.C. Penney Company, told Kumar right after the August, 2010 acquisition:
"Adam is the first one we've nailed. Hopefully, this is the first of many to come."
Maybe he meant nailing a coffin, because the party is over.  And, I do mean party:
After all, for most of its history, the Town and Country-based apparel company has been more accustomed to making private-label clothes for Walmart and moderate-priced brands such as Sag Harbor and Koret.
And yet, last month, there was Michael Kramer, Kellwood's fast-moving and acquisition-hungry chief executive, sitting in the front row at Lincoln Center as models showcasing the designs of two of his most recently purchased brands - Adam and Rebecca Taylor - strutted on the catwalk. [From: STL Dispatch, March, 2011]
Kramer, the "acquisition-hungry chief executive" was poppin bottles with models. Oh yes, he was living it up at Fashion Week.  Now, he's jumped ship because he knows the whole damn thing is about to sink.  I mean, seriously.  Why would he leave a perfectly good chief executive officer post at a company that has "a lot of good things going on" to be somebody's COO?  There's nothing wrong with a COO post, without a doubt, but it's like a demotion for him....unless, it isn't..........

These idiots.  Now, I'm going to have to keep a close eye on Kellwood Company and not just those things related to Baby Phat, because I suspect that some big changes are about to occur.  And, notice the way Kumar (at the STL Post Dispatch) rarely mentions Baby Phat in any of those articles?  It's just a matter of time.  --Sugar

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