Authentic Brands Group (ABG), which just finalized the acquisition of Forever 21 last week, has tapped Daniel Kulle as the fast-fashion retailer’s new chief executive officer.
Kulle has over 20 years of experience coaching top teams and driving growth in the highly competitive fashion industry. He was most recently a strategic advisor to former H&M Group CEO Karl-Johan Persson and a steering group member for three new digital startups within H&M Group.
Throughout his two-decade-long tenure at H&M, Kulle expanded the Swedish fast-fashion retailers’ brick-and-motor and e-commerce presence in existing and new markets across North America. Under Kulle’s leadership, H&M North American sales grew from $1 billion to $4 billion annually, and he opened 600 stores as well as developed integrated e-commerce platforms in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
“Daniel is a well-respected, progressive fashion executive, and we are thrilled to welcome him to the team,” said Jamie Salter, founder, chairman, and CEO of ABG.
“Knowing Daniel personally for several years, I’ve seen his tenacious working style first-hand,” added David Simon, president, chairman, and CEO of Simon, which also owns a stake of the struggling retailer. “His strategic vision and experience will build on Forever 21’s heritage and undoubtedly usher in a new era for the brand.”
As CEO of Forever 21, Kulle will leverage his vast digital expertise to modernize the brand’s content and social media strategies. He will also work with the brand’s leadership to evolve Forever 21’s sustainability initiatives – a key tentpole for the company. There will be a strategic focus on re-energizing core product categories, and integrating those offerings into the Forever 21 shopping experience both in-store and online.
Under Kulle’s leadership, Forever 21 is expected to sharpen its focus on seamless retailing, strengthening its loyalty program, and elevating the in-store journey through unique experiences such as pop-up events and unexpected brand collaborations that continuously surprise and delight customers. Kulle will also spearhead developing a purpose-driven ethos for Forever 21 that will serve as bedrock for all aspects of the business.
“Forever 21 enjoys strong brand awareness and affinity, a clear consumer set, and quick-to-market capabilities, allowing the brand to be nimble and leverage key trends and create strong value for its customers,” said Kulle. “The strong ownership structure, which combines ABG’s marketing prowess with Simon and Brookfield’s retail real estate expertise, creates a foundation for long-term growth.”
Kulle will be relocating from New York to Los Angeles, where he will take the helm at Forever 21’s west coast headquarters.