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James Rhee

James
Rhee

Executive Chairman and CEO
Ashley Stewart
Mr. Rhee is an entrepreneur, investor and operator. As both CEO and investment firm founder, Mr. Rhee has generated market-leading returns by creating bespoke capital and operational solutions through the contemporaneous application of algorithmic, technologic and cultural change. He has a uniquely diverse network and knowledge base spanning the private equity, retail/consumer, venture and media/technology communities. At Ashley Stewart, as Chairman and CEO, Mr. Rhee has authored and executed upon an innovative complement of CRM, digital and organizational changes that have transformed a twice bankrupt, unprofitable brick-and-mortar retailer with decades of operating losses into an industry leader founded upon a values-based, social commerce paradigm. FirePine Group, the investment firm he founded in 2009, has successfully fueled transformative change in multiple enterprises, including Ashley Stewart.

Prior to this, Mr. Rhee was a senior investment professional at two leading, Boston-based investment firms, one specializing in growth and the other focused on distress. Mr. Rhee has played a leadership role in multiple platforms, including the carve-out of the Meow Mix brand from Ralston Purina, the purchase and then turnaround of Murray's Discount Auto Stores from a bank group, the growth catalyst investment in Mattress Firm and the turnaround of Ultra Diamonds.

Mr. Rhee is a visiting professor at Duke Law School and lectures frequently at leading educational institutions and professional organizations across the country. He is a regional winner of the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the recipient of one of five 2016 Power Player Awards granted by the National Retail Federation.

Mr. Rhee received his AB with honors from Harvard College and his JD with honors from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He lives outside Boston with his wife and three daughters. He is a former high school teacher.

Speaking in:

Sunday Jan 15
8:40 - 9:30 AM
|
North Hall, Level 2

The retail industry is the largest private sector employer in the U.S., accounting for nearly one in every four jobs. Since 2012, retail employment has grown by half a million jobs and is expected to grow by nearly another million by 2022. The... Read more