Robert Fisch, founder and former Chairman & CEO of rue21, has joined the board of the Fashion Institute of Technology Foundation. Fisch, who took his company from bankruptcy to a fast-track winning streak that included a hot-stock IPO, building a national network of 1,200 stores, is thrilled to be able to contribute his experience, expertise and creative vision to this charitable endeavor. Fisch is delighted to be an addition to the foundation board. “I have always had a special place in my heart for FIT, and look forward to making a contribution to the foundation’s good work.”
Prior to joining the FIT Foundation Board, Fisch was a guest lecturer and mentor/advisor at FIT, where his company rue21 was the subject of the school’s fashion merchandising Capstone Project in 2016. He was also a guest speaker/presenter for the Global Fashion Management (GFM) Graduate School, where he presented his mutual and reverse mentoring strategy based on his Millennial Baby Boomer (MBB) brand.
It is this capacity as mentor and guide that particularly appeals to Fisch. “I look forward to helping ensure FIT, which is the leading fashion school in America, continues to be the leader in training students for retail careers. Equally important is assisting in the fundraising to support the school’s different critical programs.”
Fisch is recognized as a pioneering merchant for his bold and successful innovations in value-priced, fast fashion retailing, notably at rue21 where he led one of the most dramatic turnarounds in recent retail history.
His proven management practices and motivational skills inspired Bob to write his 2019 book, Fisch Tales: The Making of a Millennial Baby Boomer. His work has made him featured a Forbes published author. Fisch says, “I teach them business, they teach me life!” He also formed a Millennial Advisory Board to serve as a consulting body for his book as well as helping in building his brand.
Prestigious retail magazine Chain Store Age named Fisch one of “10 CEO’s to Watch in 2010.” Always something of a disruptor, Fisch’s distinctive managerial leadership style at rue21 was codified in Retailing, the standard reference textbook considered an industry bible for college students.
Fisch is currently president of RNF Group, a consulting company focused on the assessment and evaluation of retail and other business enterprises, as well as providing mentoring services to existing management of these companies. He is also involved as an investor and advisor to the Managing Partner/Founder for XRC Labs, an innovation accelerator for retail and consumer goods startup companies, as well as serving as an investor and strategic advisor to the CEO of Olatec Therapeutics LLC, a leading-edge biotech company.
He continues to be an analyst for radio and TV, where he specializes in retail commentary, and serves on the Board of Directors of Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and was previously a member of the Board of Directors of Children’s Place Retail Stores.