Position: CEO, Polo Ralph Lauren
Market Cap: $11.9 billion
Ralph Lauren, the chief executive of Polo Ralph Lauren, established his company in 1967 as a line of men’s ties and developed the company into a global fashion empire. Lauren’s successful clothing line came from his unique, classic style that went against conventional fashion of the time.
According to the Ralph Lauren website, Lauren said, “I never went to fashion school—I was a young guy who had some style. I never imagined Polo would become what it is. I just followed my instincts.”
With only a high school diploma in hand, Lauren followed his instincts. His decision to ditch college and focus on running his business lead to a series of breakthroughs in the fashion world, including the first shop-within-a-shop designer boutique for men in Bloomingdale’s department store in 1969. Lauren continued to build his empire, expanding it to include women and children’s fashion, fragrances, and home furnishings.
Today, Polo Ralph Lauren is one of the most successful fashion companies in the world.