J. Crew Execs Score Bonuses

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New York—It definitely appears to help when you have friends (read: first lady Michelle Obama) in high places with high visibility. Especially if you are a top executive at J. Crew.

According to a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, J. Crew, a favorite in the first lady’s wardrobe, awarded its chairman and CEO, Millard “Mickey” Drexler a $2 million “discretionary cash payment” in 2009. Those bonuses came despite having the specialty retailer suspending the company’s cash incentive plan earlier in the year because of challenging economic conditions.

The retailer’s board of directors the board’s compensation committee determined the payments were appropriate “in recognition of both individual and company performance.”

Others receiving bonuses included: chief administrative officer James Scully was awarded $250,000; retail and direct unit president Tracy Gardner received $425,000, creative director Jenna Lyons received $325,000 and Libby Wadle, executive vice president of the factory unit, received $200,000. Lyons also was named to the role of executive creative director.

The SEC filing said the company had suspended its cash incentive plan at the beginning of its fiscal year “in light of the then challenging economic conditions,” but reinstated the program after the company outperformed its financial goals for the year.

In January, the company reported that its 2009 revenues increased 10.5% to $1.57 billion with comparable store increases of 4.1%, and income from operations increased 13.4% to $211.3 million. While other retailers has held back on new store openings due to economic uncertainties, J. Crew added stores, which account for about 70% of revenues for a company which started as direct mail only. J. Crew has 243 retail stores including nine Crewcuts and 17 Madewell, 78 factory stores and three clearance stores. It is also opening a J. Crew bridal boutique on Madison Avenue next month.