A Financial Man

After beginning a career as an accountant and spending five years working for what was then one of the “Big Eight” Certified Public Accounting firms, I moved into private industry, but still in the financial realm. That move was my entry into the world of fashion for a company that was an apparel manufacturer and was also about to move into the retailing sector as well. I was designated the trouble-shooter to deal with Division Heads who were not meeting their financial targets. It was one thing dealing with subordinates who reported to me and for whom I had management responsibility. It was quite something else to do the same with others who ranked well above me in the corporate hierarchy. I always had the feeling that senior management did not want that rather unpleasant job and were happy to pass it off to me. Nonetheless, I took it as a great opportunity to learn diplomacy, if I didn’t get fired in the process. I must have done an OK job because years later I was recruited by Squibb Corporation to become the Financial Vice President of Lanvin-Charles of the Ritz, a company Squibb had just acquired. It was quite a step up, but I was still ‘pigeonholed’ as a financial man; however that was about to change. I soon developed a reputation as a problem solver and, before long, was given responsibility for manufacturing and other functions along with the title of Senior Vice President Finance and Operations. Later, when problems in the Company’s International Division overwhelmed the Division’s then President, I replaced him.

Breaking the Shackles

Finally, I was free of the shackles that labeled me a “financial man.” Now I was to have the opportunity to express the creativity I knew was lurking within, utilize the diplomatic skills honed throughout my earlier career, and take direct responsibility for the management of an operating division. My success there led to my appointment as President and CEO of the Company, renamed Charles of the Ritz Group Ltd., where I remained until it was sold. Not only did I complete a remarkable career introducing several successful products with consistent profitable results for Squibb Corporation, but years later, authored two novels based on my experience there. Now take a trip down Memory Lane as President and CEO of Charles of the Ritz Group Ltd., I weave my way through the worlds of Business, Fashion, Entertainment and Politics.