Exploring the Future of Luxury Retail: Insights from CEO Stanislas de Quercize on Sustainability, Leadership, and Innovation

By: Naomi Kent, Managing Director and Advisor, The C-Suite Advisory, Felix Global

I sat down over a video conference with luxury retail CEO and Board Director Stanislas de Quercize. He is now living a “Portfolio Life,” serving on nine boards, advising businesses, giving back to his community and the environment, and engaging in public speaking events. He joined us for February’s Board Alliance meeting to discuss the trends and future of luxury retail.  

de Quercize started by explaining that he was motivated to go into luxury retail because “We have to improve ourselves all the time,” he said. He explained that he is attracted to high-quality products, attention to detail, and the exclusiveness of luxury products and services. He also loves how luxury brands prioritize creating a premium customer experience to match the exclusivity and quality of their products. Personalized service, exclusive events, and private shopping experiences that exceed expectations are reasons he admires and enjoys working in the industry.  

Here are some key takeaways from my exclusive interview:  


“Believe tomorrow will be better than today.”

de Quercize  

The retail industry is experiencing a major shift. Governments, stakeholders, and shareholders demand that luxury retailers invest in preserving the environment and reducing the amount of waste caused by retailers. Several start-up companies launching out of Paris are actively working with luxury retail to find answers to the major questions being raised around environmental issues.  

de Quercize described one solution that will reduce pollution: the “pre-loved” market, also known as the “pre-owned” market for high-end products such as watches and jewelry.  

This market involves the resale of luxury items that have been previously owned, allowing them to find new homes and be appreciated by new owners rather than being discarded.   

Consumers see great value in passing down their family-owned products to others, and the market for pre-loved goods has increased substantially over the past ten years.   

Hugh Shields, Managing Director of Felix The C-Suite Advisory (and Founder of Shields Meneley Partners) joined our live interview with de Quercize and commented that while C-suite executives choose a Portfolio Career, often they are seeking out a “purpose-driven life,” “for many retiring C-suite executives, giving back while still staying active in the corporate world by serving on boards is a great balance, and it is clear that Monsieur de Quercize is continuing to make a significant impact on the industry, the environment and his community.”  

Leadership Advice   

“Over deliver”

de Quercize  

de Quercize talked about his emphasis on investing in talent to build great companies when he was a CEO. He explained, “Many high-end retailers are running assessments like 360 reviews, performance coaching, and creating training programs for recruits to ensure that culture is maintained, and high standards are kept”.  

Felix’s Managing Director, Stephanie Benesh, dialed in for the live interview and commented, “Assessments enhance the workforce’s capabilities. They recognize strengths, align people with roles where they can thrive, assist in selection, and promote continuous improvement. As highlighted by de Quercize, there are many different performance appraisal techniques and assessments – each type serves a different purpose and should be aligned with the goals of the business.”  

When making strategic decisions, de Quercize said he uses the KISS model: Keep, Improve, Stop, and Start. Every time you are making a pivot or going through a challenging time, it is important to level set and decide what is business critical. He also said that businesses need to ask themselves these three questions during strategic planning sessions: “What are our values, mission, and vision?”   

Innovation and AI   

“The objective is to improve the desirability of the brand every year.”

de Quercize  

When asked about tech and innovation in luxury, de Quercize said that luxury retail has leveraged technology for many years and invests heavily in innovation. He said that luxury has embraced the Metaverse, and NFTs are an interesting space because they remove the risk of counterfeiting.  

De Quercize said, “About 75% of jewelry is unbranded – which means you cannot sell it back. Ecommerce and AI are helping people who do not want to drive thousands of miles to buy a product and improving the client experience, allowing clients to have a better in-store and online experience.”  

Many luxury retail businesses are partnering with technology start-ups to solve problems the industry is facing and leveraging the expertise of innovative minds.   

Felix, Head of Human Capital Consulting Marc Detampel, joined the event and commented on artificial intelligence. “We are working with a number of clients who are exploring AI and its benefits. We are creating opportunities and efficiencies for them in manufacturing, sales, and client engagement. This is a great time to be considering investments in technology to stay competitive.”  

de Quercize concluded our discussion by wishing the group success in the coming months. He advised anyone going into the retail industry to always aim high!   

As Nelson Mandela said, “You don’t lose. You either win or learn”.  

If you missed any part of the discussion or would like to revisit it, you can access the recording here.  

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