The clothing store The Gap is failing. Sales have been drastically down. In fact, the clothing chain recently had “the worst showing of all 23 major retailers tracked by Thomson Reuters.”
The problem could be the products themselves. But experts are blaming the company’s CEO. Why?
He has zero experience in the necessary field.
Check out the quote from this video and article:
The fundamental problem is that the Gap lacks strong fashion sense. [Howard Davidowitz, president of Davidowitz & Associates and a long-time retail industry insider] blames the CEO. Glenn Murphy is a very competent executive, but lacks the experience needed to right the ship. “Fashion people win in fashion companies,” Davidowitz explains in the accompanying clip. “I’ve never seen a numbers guy come in and be successful in a fashion company. I’ve never seen one example of it.”
Does any of this sound familiar?
It was disheartening when Mayor Bloomberg brought in Cathie Black as chancellor of schools in New York City. She’s a nice person and a great business woman, but holds only a bachelor’s degree (despite the fact that teachers in New York are required to have earned a masters) and has no experience in education whatsoever. Cathie Black never spent a day employed in the field of education in any capacity. It came as no real shock that she quit after just 95 days on the job last year.
This month, my teacher friends in Fort Lauderdale informed me that Broward County Public Schools has just done the same thing: their new superintendent, Robert Runcie, has a degree in economics and worked in finance and computer consulting. Now, his situation is less controversial than that of Cathie Black, as Runcie did go on to work in various capacities at the Chicago Board of Education under the leadership of Arne Duncan.
But he was never a teacher. His first passion was not education. He did not study child development, instructional techniques, curriculum design, or effective assessment and then take that knowledge into the trenches to see what it’s like in a real classroom with real kids.
Hiring a non-educator to oversee education? It’s a proverbial slap in the face of teachers and students. Principals are required to have multiple years of teaching experience, why not superintendents? Shouldn’t the chief of schools also have to be “highly qualified” with a background as both a teacher and school-based administrator? If you’ve never been in the classroom or worked in a school at all, you cannot possibly have the insight needed to be superintendent of the nation’s 6th largest school system. The fact that educational leaders across the country are increasingly failing to recognize this simple principle is frightening.
As Davidowitz says in the video: “They brought in a guy with a great track record…but it was the wrong person for that job.” Let’s hope that things turn out better than that for Runcie and Broward County Schools…and that other school districts learn their lesson from The Gap.