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Lew Frankfort ’69
Executive Chairman, Coach, Inc., New York
When Lew Frankfort joined Coach, Inc. in 1979 as vice president of new business development, the company’s sales were just $6 million. Over the subsequent 34 years, Mr. Frankfort, now executive chairman, literally transformed Coach from a cottage-industry manufacturer of leather goods into the premier American accessories brand with an increasing global presence. As of June 2013, under Mr. Frankfort’s stewardship, Coach’s annual sales were over $5 billion.
In his more than three decades at the company, Mr. Frankfort continued to build upon Coach’s strong customer franchise by broadening product offerings, modernizing stores, accelerating retail expansion, improving operational efficiency and growing the brand’s international distribution. At the beginning of his career at Coach, Mr. Frankfort spearheaded the development of Coach Stores and its introduction into international markets. In 1985, Coach was acquired by Sara Lee Corporation and he was appointed president of Coach. In 1995, Mr. Frankfort was named chairman and CEO, and in 2014 he became Executive Chairman. During 2000, he oversaw Coach’s transition to a publicly traded company listed on the New York Stock Exchange and in 2011 the company became the first American issuer to list on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong.
Prior to his corporate career, Mr. Frankfort held various positions in the public sector, spending ten years in New York City government. For three of those years, he served as commissioner of the Agency for Child Development and helped restore New York’s Head Start and day care programs during the fiscal crisis of the mid-1970s.
Mr. Frankfort holds a BA from Hunter College, and an MBA in Marketing from Columbia Business School. In addition, Mr. Frankfort is on the Board of Directors of Teach for America, a public-private partnership aimed at eliminating educational inequity in America.
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