Lew Frankfort

So Reed Krakoff, executive creative director and president of Coach, the man who – along with CEO Lew Frankfort – built it into the $4.76 billion brand, is leaving after almost 16 years. Or will be leaving soon: officially, he steps down in June of 2014 when his current contract is up, which also happens to be just after Mr Frankfort retires as CEO (last September he announced he was leaving at the end of this year). Those are the facts; so what do they all mean?

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Lew Frankfort, CEO of Coach. Getty Images

Today the Harvard Business Review has come out with a new ranking of the 100 best-performing chief executives around the world, as measured by shareholder returns and growth of market capital over their leadership tenure, and guess what? Despite all that ballyhoo about the absolutely extraordinary unprecedented growth of the luxury market, etc, etc, only three luxury CEOs actually make the list. Oops.

But who are these unmasked men? (They are all men.) Lew Frankfort, CEO of Coach, who leads the industry pack by a wide margin at number 21 – the only luxury name in the top 50 (by standard definition); Sidney Toledano of Dior, at 68; and Patrick Thomas, CEO of Hermès, who is retiring this year, who comes in at 72. Chapeau, guys. Read more