English, Ted 1954–
President and chief executive officer, TJX Companies
Education: Northeastern University College of Business Administration, BA, 1976.
Family: Married Maureen (maiden name unknown).
Career: Filene's Basement, 1983, buyer; T. J. Maxx, 1983–1995, various merchandising positions; 1995–1997, senior vice president of merchandising; Marmaxx Group, 1997–1998, executive vice president of merchandising, planning, and allocation; 1998–1999, senior vice president and group executive; TJX Companies, 1999–2000, president and chief operating officer; Marmaxx Group, 1999–2000, chairman; TJX Companies, 2000–, president and chief executive officer.
Awards: Honorary doctor of laws degree, Framingham State College, 2002; Sir Ernest Shackleton Award, Shackleton Schools, 2002; named Business Leader of the Year, MetroWest Chamber of Commerce, 2003; named one of America's Most Powerful People, Forbes, 2000.
Address: TJX Companies, 770 Cochituate Road, Framingham, Massachusetts 01701–4672; http://www.tjx.com.
■ Edmond "Ted" English served as president and CEO of the TJX Companies, a leading discount retailer of apparel and home fashions. His intense focus and constant implementation of new and innovative ideas kept TJX profitable through times of economic downturn. English directed the successful acquisition of several off-price retail companies that increased TJX's assets and holdings without diminishing financial growth. Coworkers and analysts described English as a focused, innovative, and compassionate manager.
English devoted his career to the merchandising and growth of TJX Companies. As an entry-level employee, he had a keen eye for customer shopping behavior and generated ideas to attract repeat customers, which helped him move up the corporate ladder. In 1995, as senior vice president of merchandising, English played a key role in the consolidation of T. J. Maxx and Marshalls, the two largest off-price clothing chains in the United States, to form the single operation Marmaxx. To keep the stores profitable, he preserved the names and individual characters of the stores. Both stores carry brand-name clothing and home decor, but Marshalls carries a large selection of shoes and costume jewelry, while T. J. Maxx offers more fine jewelry. In demonstration of his ability to predict customer desires, English carefully researched individual community markets to learn which store, T. J. Maxx or Marshalls, had the competitive edge and should remain open in a specific community, if a community's particular market appeared to be oversaturated by the presence of both stores. Through the merger of T. J. Maxx and Marshalls into Marmaxx, TJX continued to reap the benefits of both stores' reputations; the merger also boosted TJX's purchasing power and reduced expenses through TJX's augmented ability to negotiate in bulk with clothing distributors.
INTENSE FOCUS ON STRATEGY
Based on his success in the Marmaxx organization, English was made president and CEO of TJX in 2000. English's strengths as a CEO included his ability to focus on merchandising, produce innovative ideas, predict customer shopping habits, and direct ongoing growth. English managed TJX with the primary goal of "captur[ing] customers during hard times and then keep[ing] them when times get better" (Home Textiles Today, June 10, 2002). In order to bring in new customers and retain repeat customers while increasing profits, English continuously analyzed and applied new and innovative merchandising principles to the store's operations.
English found success through advertisement and creation of a store with constantly changing brand-name merchandise. TJX found this model to be successful, since customers shop at a store with daily-changing merchandise more frequently than they would in a store that varies merchandise only seasonally. Beyond standard clothing sales, English found that the quick turnover of goods was a very effective merchandising technique during the holiday season, as customers returned to the stores several times for holiday shopping over the course of one or two months. As a way to maximize profits and minimize expenses, English optimized the variety of merchandise, decreased stock on hand by buying close to need, and sent specific merchandise to targeted stores or markets in which he believed they would sell best. English's strategies had the net effect of keeping customers shopping at TJX's stores during times of economic downturn and low consumer confidence.
GROWTH THROUGH ACQUISITION AND EXPANSION
After becoming CEO in 2000, English directed TJX's acquisition of A. J. Wright in the United States and both Winners and HomeSense in Canada. TJX also expanded into Europe by opening more than 100 T. J. Maxx retail stores. Despite the financial toll that large acquisitions and new stores could have had on the company, TJX had a 2002 annual growth rate of 11 percent, and by 2004 TJX's first quarter earnings had increased over 20 percent.
The application of the TJX store model to the virtual marketplace was unique, in that English wanted to reflect the fast turnover of merchandise in local stores in the virtual T. J. Maxx and Homegoods stores. Growth into new markets and new bricks-and-mortar stores without large profit loss gave TJX the luxury of three years for researching and evaluating possible business plans before directing their own virtual expansion.
English's growth expansion model proved to be very profitable for TJX Companies. From 2002 to 2003 TJX revenues increased 11 percent, to $13 billion. As a bonus, in the Fortune 500 ratings, TJX ranked 11th for return on assets, 23rd for return on equity, and 47th for 10-year EPS (earnings projected statement) growth. TJX was also ranked fifth among the specialty retailers on Fortune magazine's Most Admired Companies list of 2003.
SOCIAL PROGRAMS AND PHILANTHROPY
In 1997 there was low unemployment in the United States, and TJX had increasing difficulty finding retail employees. To solve their unemployment issue and help the community, TJX joined the national nonprofit Welfare to Work (WTW) program to move workers off public assistance and into jobs in the private sector. Under the guidance of English and then-CEO Bernard Cammarata, TJX not only hired employees from the welfare lists but also took great pains to make sure the employees were trained in merchandising and given all the resources needed to be successful in their jobs. In 1998, recognizing that some people needed more training than others, English and Cammarata developed the First Step program, with Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries, to train potential employees. Those persons who tested at the eight-grade level or lower and did not have a high school diploma (or GED) entered into three weeks of retail-specific classroom training and then participated in a one- to five-week internship at a store. Those who completed the classroom training and internship were guaranteed a full-time job.
The training program helped TJX bring more trained and long-term employees into the company. As an added benefit to the employees, TJX and Goodwill Industries provided ongoing case management to solve child-care and transportation issues as they arose and helped employees become more aware of government aid programs, such as the Children's Health Insurance program, food stamps, and the Advance Earned Income Tax Credit. Beyond the Goodwill training program, TJX also identified employees who needed assistance in learning English and created English as a Second Language classes. TJX became a national model for the WTW program by hiring five times as many workers as the five thousand required by program guidelines. A 2000 Forbes article found that 61 percent of welfare workers had stayed with their TJX jobs after one year.
GRACE UNDER PRESSURE
Seven TJX employees on their way to a meeting were killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. English's quick, compassionate corporate leadership set the standard for other corporate CEOs and presidents facing the same situation. English not only sent personal notes to family members offering condolences but also offered family members the use of TJX lawyers, accountants, and other professionals; established college scholarships for the employees' children; created a TJX Family Memorial Trust Fund; and offered financial assistance for memorial services. Beyond helping the families cope with the immediate impact of a loss, English also brought together a committee driven by family members to develop a September 11th Memorial Garden at TJX and dedicated a new learning center to the honor of the slain employees. Through his compassion and assistance, English earned the loyalty and respect of his employees and the community. In recognition of his kindness, English was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Framingham State College.
TEACHING THE NEXT GENERATION OF BUSINESS LEADERS
English also forged close links with local students. For example, he worked as a volunteer with the Shackleton School, a nonprofit, Boston-based, experience-focused school, to help students learn leadership skills. English also had a particularly close relationship with his alma mater, the Northeastern University College of Business Administration (CBA). At CBA, English participated in the Executive MBA Alumni lecture series, chaired the CBA Board of Visitors, entered TJX in CBA's corporate partners program, and helped CBA try a newly designed Introduction to Business Course that focused intensively on TJX. As a result of his work with programs at the Shackleton School and other educational ventures, English was awarded the Sir Ernest Shackleton Award "for his commitment to leadership, education, and serving deserving young people."
See also entry on The TJX Companies, Inc. in International Directory of Company Histories.
sources for further information
Bock, Linda, "Framingham State Grads Urged to 'Strike Out Boldly'; 999 in Class of 2002 Told of Keys to Success," Worcester Telegram and Gazette, May 28, 2002.
Goodison, Donna, "TJX Seen as National Model for Welfare-Work Initiative," Boston Business Journal March 8, 2002, p. 7.
Lillo, Andrea, "TJX Maps Out Expansion Plans," Home Textiles Today, June 10, 2002, p. 1.
"Newsmakers 2001: Ted English," Boston Business Journal, December 28, 2001, p. 7.
—Dawn Jacob Laney