Session Information

Monday, May 16th, 10:30–11:10am

TRACK 2: Physical Retail Goes Digital

Session B: Executive Perspectives: Brand Innovation

James Rhee
Executive Chairman & CEO, Ashley Stewart / FirePine Group
For nearly two decades, as a successful investor, board member, and CEO, Mr. Rhee has created outsized, asymmetric risk-adjusted returns by creating bespoke, holistic solutions in the rapidly transforming retail-consumer product industry. By leveraging a uniquely diversified network and knowledge base in private equity, restructuring, retail/consumer and venture, Mr. Rhee specializes in marrying algorithmic, CRM and technology-driven solutions with lean process flow and people. FirePine Group, which he founded in 2009, sits uniquely at the intersections of growth and distressed, technology and operations.

As Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ashley Stewart, in less than two years, Mr. Rhee has forged a social commerce strategy and team that have transformed a twice bankrupt, unprofitable brick-and-mortar retailer with over a decade of operating losses and no corporate wi-fi into a multi-channel, digital and global leader. Based on these efforts, Mr. Rhee was recognized by the National Retail Federation in 2016 as one of the 25 individuals most shaping the future of retail with one of its five Power Player awards.

Prior to founding FirePine, Mr. Rhee held senior investment roles at J.W. Childs Associates and GB Merchant Partners, the investment affiliate of Gordon Brothers Group. Mr. Rhee has stewarded companies with an aggregate enterprise value in the billions and served on numerous boards (distressed, growth and otherwise). Select prior involvement include the carve-out of Meow Mix cat food from Ralston Purina, the growth investment in Mattress Firm and the post-bankruptcy turnaround of Ultra Diamonds.