CBNationI AM CEO PODCAST

IAM108- Retired Calvin Klein CEO Shares His Knowledge on Business, Service and Leadership

Podcast Interview with Tom Murry

Tom Murry is the retired CEO of Calvin Klein, where he ran the company for 17 years and facilitated the brand’s growth from 2.8 billion to $8 billion. Prior to that, he spent the majority of his career working for iconic fashion brands including Tahari and Evan Piccone. He has worked with (and learned from) the most recognized names in fashion, as well as titans of the business world. With the same no-nonsense approach that he applies to fashion, Tom shares his knowledge about business, leadership, and creating a career that one can be both proud of and one that is of service to others. He and his beloved junior-high sweetheart, Lynda Murry, recently celebrated 43 years of marriage and now reside in Palm Beach, Florida.

  • CEO Hack: My book
  • CEO Nugget: Surround yourself with talent, have clear goals and objectives
  • CEO Defined: A lot of responsibility

Websitehttp://tommurry.com/index.htm

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tommurry/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TomMurryAuthor
Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/TomMurryAuthor/?_rdc=1&_rdr

Full Interview:


Check out one of our favorite CEO Hack’s Audible. Get your free audiobook and check out more of our favorite CEO Hacks HERE.

Transcription:

The full transcription is only available to CBNation Library Members. Sign up today!

Intro 0:02

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:28

Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO Podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Tom Murry, who's the retired CEO of Calvin Klein. Tom, it is awesome to have you on the show.

Tom Murry 0:39

Gresham it's my pleasure. Thank you.

Gresham Harkless 0:40

No problem. What I wanted to do, is read a little bit more about Tom, so you hear about all the awesome things that he's been able to do. And Tom Murry is a retired CEO of Calvin Klein, where he ran the company for 70 years and facilitated the brand's growth from $2.8 billion to $8 billion. Prior to that, he spent the majority of his career working for iconic fashion brands, including Tahari and Evan Piccone. He has worked with and learned from the most recognized names and fashion as well as titans of the business world. With the same no-nonsense approach that he applies to fashion. Tom, shares his knowledge about business, leadership, and creating a career that one can be proud of and one that is of service to others. He and his beloved junior-high sweetheart, Lynda Murry, recently celebrated 43 years of marriage. Congratulations. And they now reside in Palm Beach, Florida. Tom, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

Tom Murry 1:32

Yes, I am Gresham.

Gresham Harkless 1:33

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Well, I know I touch a little bit on your background and your bio. And I want to hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO story. And what kind led you to be the CEO, of Calvin Klein, and what you're doing working on today?

[restrict paid=”true”]

Tom Murry 1:45

Well, becoming the CEO, of Calvin Klein was first of all my dream job. And it was a long journey. And from the beginning of my career, I've been in the fashion or apparel industry since I was 15 years old. So, I just stayed with it all those years. And when I had the opportunity and was offered the job to be CEO of Calvin Klein, I just thought it doesn't get any better than this. This is the best job that I could have.

Gresham Harkless 2:08

Yeah, absolutely. And I know you worked at different C-suite levels before you actually became the CEO. Correct. And you kind of worked your way up.

Tom Murry 2:15

Yes, I did. Tahari was the was seven years as president, not CEO, but the owner, Elie Tahari function as a CEO, but I did essentially a CEOs job. And that was a seven-year stint there. And then I was offered the job that Calvin and I took that job and was there for the remainder of my career until I retired.

Gresham Harkless 2:36

Okay, awesome, awesome, awesome. And I know that one of the big things that you were able to kind of foothold in and kind of take strong leadership on it was kind of like the transition from Calvin Klein is the CEO, to the new, I guess, ownership group, could you talk a little bit more about like kind of the some of the things that you were able to do especially to as I know, most people that start businesses start organizations and are CEOs, they have a certain vision for what they have for the organization, how are you able to kind of maintain that and continue to kind of grow the company?

Tom Murry 3:03

Well, I was fortunate because I maintain the team that Calvin, and I had hired the Creative Directors, and Merchandisers and all those people were already in place. And so we can Calvin retired in 2003. When Phil's been using acquired Calvin Klein. And so I stayed there for as you know, until the first quarter of 2015. And I maintain that team, Calvin and I had hired together throughout that entire period. So, that was I was surrounded by talent. And I had, we had a great working relationship and mutual trust. And that was the way really that I was able to keep it on track and keep it together.

Gresham Harkless 3:39

Yeah, that makes sense. And I'm sure that definitely obviously helped out with the transition as you were moving into that role. And the new ownership group was coming in to be able to have those key pieces. And the key team members kind of in place probably helped out a lot. So, I wanted to drill down a little bit deeper and ask you for what I call your secret sauce in this. And as I know you're working on a book and you have a book coming out. So, I wanted to talk a little bit more about that. And some of the things and business lessons that you've learned and how you are putting that into the book that will come out.

Tom Murry 4:06

Well. The book is really about my life history and years as CEO come to climb, but it really starts much earlier than that. It starts back when I had my first job when I was 15 years old. And what I did then and how it led to ultimately someday becoming the CEO of Calvin Klein. And as I said, a moment ago, I've been in the apparel business my entire career. And I started working in men's stores after school and during summers selling men's clothing, and I just kept on going from then until I ultimately got to the Calvin Klein position.

Gresham Harkless 4:41

It makes sense. And did you find that obviously working so many years in the industry, I'm sure you have a lot of lessons that you've been able to kind of learn when you became the CEO? Do you have these findings that some of those life lessons or kind of background has kind of overlap with that?

Tom Murry 4:56

Oh, absolutely. I think that the life lesson there was, to have a vision for what you want to become, have goals, and never give up. Because it's not going to be easy, there are going to be difficult times as there always are in any career, and surround yourself with positive, strong people that have a lot of talent. And those are really the kinds of things that I used to accomplish my objectives.

See also  IAM272- Strength and Conditioning Coach Helps Fix Bodies and Relief Pain

Gresham Harkless 5:21

That makes sense, that makes sense. And I did a little bit of homework and heard a little bit more about you also, were an avid wrestler, as well, too, as any that kind of overlap.

Tom Murry 5:29

I was a wrestler in high school and for one year in college, at Oklahoma State University, which was the number-one wrestling school in the nation. So, I made a theme, but I just couldn't be competitive with the rest of the wrestlers at Oklahoma State University. But I had, throughout junior high and high school and one year in college, I learned a lot because wrestling is a physically amazingly difficult sport like three, two minute periods. But you're so exhausted at the pier at the end of that match that you literally have to sometimes crawl up the match to get to the bench, and you're always cutting weight, you're always wrestling down a weight, or up a weight rather be competitive.

So, you always have to lose a lot of weight. And so then you're generally weak before the match, and I found myself eating chocolate bars and whatever it took, just to get my energy level up to get out there and wrestle a match. And so it was the learning that discipline. And then the other component, there was teamwork, even though you were out on the mat all by yourself. It was really a team sport because you wrestled a match with team members, and you all depended upon each other. So, the lessons there were hard, hard work, and teamwork.

Gresham Harkless 6:42

That makes perfect sense. And I always love I played basketball, I played wrestling, I did wrestling, but that was only in kind of PE from time to time. So, I always appreciated how much you can learn from, going through, and using sports and how it has been a life lesson and also a teaching lesson for I'm sure like you as a CEO, as well, too. So, I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And this might be an app or a book or even talking a little bit more about your book, but it's something that will make people more effective and efficient as business owners.

Tom Murry 7:13

Well, I think my book, I hope. The Object there was to give people a tool to give young managers and new fashion industry in the apparel industry, I think, I really hope and I believe that what I talked about in the book is applicable to any industry. And I think that they'll find that, I think they'll find it compelling.

Gresham Harkless 7:32

Yeah, I mean, definitely as much success as you've had, I'm definitely I'm sure a lot of people will love to hear your story and everything that you've done, and how you kind of transitioned into being that CEO and how you were able to do that. So, I think that's a big CEO hack. And now I wanted to ask you for a CEO nugget. And I know you already touched on some other things, some of the things so I wanted to ask if there's anything additional that maybe we can hear about in your book or some golden nuggets that you might have in your book that people can learn from.

Tom Murry 7:57

Well, I think, this may be this answer may be a bit repetitive. But I think it's about surrounding yourself with talent and having goals in having a clear set of objectives to achieve your goals, and stick with it and have a tremendous, yeah, it takes a tremendous amount of tenacity, because you're going to have successes, and you're going to have failures. It's not a straight-line growth. It's an up-and-down.

And there are mountains, and there are valleys, and so on. But you have to have a long-term vision, and you have to be tenacious, to get there. And I believe I was able to get there. I mean, I know I was able to get there, fortunately. And I think that there are some nuggets in the book that will be helpful anecdotes and things of that nature that will be helpful to the reader.

Gresham Harkless 8:40

Yeah, absolutely. And I can imagine that a lot of people will love to kind of hear that, especially if you're looking to try to build something or create something, especially in the fashion industry, because obviously, you've been able to have a tremendous amount of success in that industry. So, now I wanted to ask you what is my favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different, quote-unquote, CEOs on the show and you being the retired CEO of Calvin Klein. So, I wanted to ask you, how did you look at and how did you define being a CEO?

Tom Murry 9:06

Well, first of all, it's a lot of responsibility. There are a lot of people depending upon you to be an effective leader and have that will assure success if it's well executed. So, I think that there was, I think it was a burden of responsibility. But at the same time, it was very enjoyable because I, as I mentioned, I was really surrounded by a wonderful team of people that I enjoyed working with, and a lot of talent and a lot of longevity, because all about all of the talent that I had been there for quite a number of years. And they stayed there the entire time that I was there. So, we're very few changes in my top management teams are in during my entire 17-year period there. And I think a lot of the reason that I was successful can be attributed to that.

Gresham Harkless 9:48

Yeah, absolutely. I always say teamwork makes the dream work. So, being able to have really strong people and really strong pieces when you're trying to build something to do something great. It definitely, makes perfect sense. So, Tom, I truly appreciate you for taking some time out of your schedule, what I want to do is pass you the mic so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional, you want to let our readers and our listeners know. How best they can get a hold of you and get a copy of your book?

Tom Murry 10:09

Well, the best way to get a hold of me is to go to my website, because my contact is Tom Murry or, Tom, just go to Google, and you'll see my website. And I get that off the top of my head, I can't remember at the moment, but my website will tell you how to reach me and ask me questions. It has a lot of information, more current information about what I'm doing, and so on. So, I think I would urge anyone to go to my website.

Gresham Harkless 10:32

Absolutely. And what we'll do is we'll make sure to put that link in the show notes just so that anybody can click through and kind of get a copy of your book and reach out to you and contact you. But again, I truly appreciate you for taking some time out of your schedule, and all the awesome things that you've been able to do and being so willing to definitely not just accomplish things but be able to kind of pay it forward and write your book and tell us your story. So, again, I appreciate you.

Tom Murry 10:53

Gresham, it's my pleasure. Thank you very much

Outro 10:56

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co

See also  IAM744- Executive Coach Helps Leaders Transform From the Inside Out

I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Intro 0:02

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:28

Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO Podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Tom Murry, who's the retired CEO of Calvin Klein. Tom it is awesome to have you on the show.

Tom Murry 0:39

Gresham it's my pleasure. Thank you.

Gresham Harkless 0:40

No problem. What I wanted to do, which is read a little bit more about Tom, so you hear about all the awesome things that he's been able to do. And Tom Murry is a retired CEO of Calvin Klein, where he ran the company for 70 years and facilitated the brand's growth from $2.8 billion to $8 billion. Prior to that he spent the majority of his career working for iconic fashion brands, including Tahari and Evan Piccone. He has worked with and learn from the most recognized names and fashion as well as titans of the business world. With the same no nonsense approach and that he applies to fashion. Tom, shares his knowledge about business, leadership, and creating a career that one can be proud of and one that is of service to others. He and his beloved junior-high sweetheart, Lynda Murry, recently celebrated 43 years of marriage. Congratulations. And they now reside in Palm Beach, Florida. Tom, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

Tom Murry 1:32

Yes, I am Gresham.

Gresham Harkless 1:33

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Well, I know I touch a little bit on your your background and your bio. And I want to hear a little bit more about what I call like your CEO story. And what kind of led you to be the CEO, to Calvin Klein, and what you're doing working on today.

Tom Murry 1:45

Well, becoming a CEO, Calvin Klein was a first of all was my dream job. And it was a long journey. And from the beginning of my career I've been in the fashion or apparel industry from since I was 15 years old. So, I just stayed with it all those years. And when I had the opportunity, and I was offered the job to be CEO of Calvin Klein, I just thought it doesn't get any better than this. This is the best job that I could have.

Gresham Harkless 2:08

Yeah, absolutely. And I know you worked at different C suite levels before you actually became the CEO. Correct. And you kind of worked your way up.

Tom Murry 2:15

Yes, I did. Tahari was the was seven years as president, not CEO, but the owner, Elie Tahari function as a CEO, but I did essentially a CEOs job. And that was a seven year stint there. And then I was offered the job that Calvin and I took that job and was there for the remainder of my career until I retired.

Gresham Harkless 2:36

Okay, awesome, awesome, awesome. And I know that one of the big things that you were able to kind of foothold in and kind of take strong leadership on it was kind of like the transition from Calvin Klein being the CEO, to the new, I guess, ownership group, could you talk a little bit more about like kind of the some of the things that you were able to do especially to as I know, most people that start businesses start organizations and are CEOs, they have a certain vision for what they have for the organization, how are you able to kind of maintain that and continue to kind of grow the company?

Tom Murry 3:03

Well, I was fortunate because I maintain the team that Calvin, and I had hired the Creative Directors, and the Merchandisers and all those people were already in place. And so we can Calvin retired in 2003. When Phil's been using acquired Calvin Klein. And so I stayed there for as you know, until the first quarter of 2015. And I maintain that team, the Calvin and I had hired together throughout the that entire period. So, that was I was surrounded by talent. And I had, we had a great working relationship and mutual trust. And that was the way really that I was able to keep it on track and keep it together.

Gresham Harkless 3:39

Yeah, that makes sense. And I'm sure that definitely obviously helped out with the transition as you were moving into that role. And the new ownership group was coming in to be able to have those key pieces. And the key team members kind of in place probably helped out a lot. So, I wanted to drill down a little bit deeper and ask you for what I call your secret sauce in this. And as I know you're working on a book and you have a book coming out. So, I wanted to talk a little bit more about that. And some of the things and business lessons that you've learned and how you are putting that into the book that will come out.

Tom Murry 4:06

Well. The book is really about my life history and years as CEO come climb, but it really starts much earlier than that. It starts back when I had my first job when I was 15 years old. And what I did then and how it led to being ultimately someday becoming the CEO of Calvin Klein. And as I said, a moment ago, I've been in the apparel business my entire career. And I started working in men's stores after school and during summers selling men's clothing, and I just kept on going from then until I ultimately got to the Calvin Klein position.

Gresham Harkless 4:41

It makes sense. And did you find that obviously working so many years in the industry, I'm sure you have a lot of lessons that you've been able to kind of learn when you became the CEO. Do you have these find that, some of those life lessons or kind of background has kind of overlap into that?

Tom Murry 4:56

Oh, absolutely. I think that the life lesson there were, have a vision for what you want to become, and have goals, and never give up. Because it's not going to be easy, there are going to be difficult times as there always are in any career, and surround yourself with positive, strong people that have a lot of talent. And those are really the kinds of things that I used to accomplish my objectives.

Gresham Harkless 5:21

That makes sense, that makes sense. And and I did a little bit of homework and heard a little bit more about you also, were an avid wrestler, as well, too, as any that kind of overlap.

Tom Murry 5:29

I was a wrestler in high school and for one year in college, Oklahoma State University, and which was the number one wrestling school in the nation. So, I made a theme, but I just couldn't be competitive with the rest of the wrestlers at Oklahoma State University. But I had, throughout junior high and high school and one year in college, I learned a lot because wrestling is a physically an amazingly difficult sport is like three, two minute periods. But you're so exhausted at the pier at the end of that match that you literally have to sometimes crawl up the match to get to the bench, and you're always cutting weight, you're always wrestling down a weight, or up a weight rather to be competitive. So, you always have to lose a lot of weight. And so then you're generally weak before the match, and I found myself eating chocolate bars and whatever it took, just to get my energy level up to get out there and wrestle a match. And so it was the learning that discipline. And then the other component, there was the teamwork, even though you were out on the mat all by yourself. It was really a team sport, because you wrestled a match with team members, and you all had depended upon each other. So, the lessons there were hard, hard work, and teamwork.

See also  IAM531- Founder Helps Create and Build Organizations of Value

Gresham Harkless 6:42

That makes perfect sense. And I always love I played basketball, I played wrestling, I did wrestling, but that was only in kind of PE from time to time. So, I always appreciated how much you can learn from, going through and using sports and how it has been a life lesson and also a teaching lesson for I'm sure like you as a CEO, as well, too. So, I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And this might be an app or a book or even talking a little bit more about your book, but it's something that will make people more effective and efficient as a business owner.

Tom Murry 7:13

Well, I think my book, I hope. The Object there was to give people a tool to give young managers and new fashion industry in the apparel industry, I think, I really hope and I believe that what I talked about in the book is applicable to any industry. And I think that they'll find that, I think they'll find it compelling.

Gresham Harkless 7:32

Yeah, I mean, definitely as much success as you've had, I'm definitely I'm sure a lot of people will love to hear your story and everything that you've done, and how you kind of transition into being that CEO and how you were able to do that. So, I think that's a big CEO hack. And now I wanted to ask you for a CEO nugget. And I know you already touched on some other things, some of the things so I wanted to ask if there's anything additional that maybe we can hear about in your book, or some golden nuggets that you might have in your book that people can learn from?

Tom Murry 7:57

Well, I think, this may be this answer may be a bit repetitive. But I think it's about surrounding yourself with talent and having goals in having a clear set of objectives to achieve your goals, and stick with it and have a tremendous, yeah, it takes a tremendous amount of tenacity, because you're going to have successes, and you're going to have failures. It's not a straight line growth. It's a up and down. And there are mountains, and there are valleys, and so on. But you have to have a long term vision, and you have to be tenacious, to get there. And I believe I was able to get there. I mean, I know I was able to get there, fortunately. And I think that there's some nuggets in the book that will be helpful anecdotes, and things of that nature that will be helpful to the reader.

Gresham Harkless 8:40

Yeah, absolutely. And I can imagine that a lot of people will love to kind of hear that, especially if you're looking to try to build something or create something, especially in the fashion industry, because obviously, you've been able to have a tremendous amount of success in that industry. So, now I wanted to ask you for what is my favorite question, which is the definition for what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different, quote-unquote, CEOs on the show and you being the retired CEO of Calvin Klein. So, I wanted to ask you, how did you look at and how did you define like being a CEO?

Tom Murry 9:06

Well, first of all, it's a lot of responsibility. There are a lot of people depending upon you to be an effective leader and have that will assure success if it's well executed. So, I think that, there was, I think it was a burden of responsibility. But at the same time, it was very enjoyable because I, as I mentioned, I was really surrounded by a wonderful team of people that I enjoyed working with, and a lot of talent and a lot of longevity, because all about all of the talent that I had had been there for quite a number of years. And they stayed there the entire time that I was there. So, we're very few changes in my top management teams are in during my entire 17 year period there. And I think a lot of the reason that I was successful can be attributed to that.

Gresham Harkless 9:48

Yeah, absolutely. I always say teamwork makes the dream work. So, being able to have really strong people and really strong pieces when you're trying to build something to do something great. Definitely, makes perfect sense. So, Tom, I truly appreciate you for taking some time out of your schedule, what I want to do is pass you the mic so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional, you want to let our readers and our listeners know. How best they can get a hold of you and get a copy of your book.

Tom Murry 10:09

Well, the best way to get a hold of me is go to my website, because my contact is Tom Murry or, Tom, just go to Google, and you'll see my website. And I get that off the top of my head, I can't remember at the moment, but my website will tell you how to reach me and ask me questions. It has a lot of information, more current information about what I'm doing, and so on. So, I think I would urge anyone to go to my website.

Gresham Harkless 10:32

Absolutely. And what we'll do is we'll make sure to put that link in the show notes just so that anybody can click through and kind of get a copy of your book and reach out to you and contact you. But again, I truly appreciate you for taking some time out of your schedule, and all the awesome things that you've been able to do and being so willing to definitely not just accomplish things but be able to kind of pay it forward and write your book and tell us your story. So, again, I appreciate you.

Tom Murry 10:53

Gresham, its my pleasure. Thank you very much

Outro 10:56

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

[/restrict]

Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button