Harvard Business School Case Study Landmark Education Dallas

For the U.S. Court of Appeals judge, see Stanley Marcus (judge).

Harold Stanley Marcus[2] (April 20, 1905 – January 22, 2002) was an early president (1950–1972) and later chairman of the board (1972–1976) of the luxury retailer Neiman Marcus in Dallas, Texas, which his father and aunt had founded in 1907. During his tenure at the company, he also became a published author, writing his memoir Minding the Store and also a regular column in The Dallas Morning News. After Neiman Marcus was sold to Carter Hawley Hale Stores, Marcus initially remained in an advisory capacity to that company, but later began his own consulting business, which continued until his death. He served his local community as an avid patron of the fine arts and as a civic leader. In a chapter titled "Mr. Stanley" — the name by which Marcus was known locally for decades — in his 1953 work Neiman-Marcus, Texas, Frank X. Tolbert called him "Dallas' most internationally famous citizen" and worthy of being called "the Southwest's No. 1 businessman-intellectual."[3]

Marcus introduced many of the innovations for which Neiman-Marcus became known, creating a national award for service in fashion and hosting art exhibitions in the store itself, as well as weekly fashion shows and an annual Fortnight event highlighting a different foreign country for two weeks each year. He established the Neiman-Marcus Christmas Catalogue, which became famous for extravagant "His and Hers" gifts such as airplanes and camels. Marcus prided himself on his staff's ability to provide service and value for each client, often citing his father's dictum, "There is never a good sale for Neiman Marcus unless it's a good buy for the customer."

He received the Chevalier Award from the French Legion of Honor,[4] was listed in the Houston Chronicle's list of the 100 most important Texans,[5] and was named by Harvard Business School among the greatest American Business Leaders of the 20th century.[6] The Advertising Hall of Fame notes: "Stanley Marcus was among the most important figures in the history of American retail merchandising and marketing. Through his many innovations, he transformed a local Dallas clothing store into an international brand synonymous with high style, fashion and gracious service."[7]

Personal life and retail career[edit]

Marcus was born in The Cedars, Dallas, Texas, the son of Herbert Marcus, Sr., who later became a co-founder of the original Neiman-Marcus store with his sister Carrie and her husband, Al Neiman. Stanley was the first of four sons born to Herbert, Sr., and his wife, the former Minnie Lichtenstein. The pregnancy indirectly led to the eventual founding of Neiman-Marcus, as Herbert Sr. decided to leave Sanger's, where he was a buyer of boys' clothing, when he deemed his raise insufficient to support a family.[8] Returning from two years spent in Atlanta, Georgia, establishing a successful sales-promotion business, the Marcuses and Neimans used the $25,000 made in the sale of that business to establish their store at the corner of Elm and Murphy. Given that the family's other option for the money was to invest in the then-unknown Coca-Cola Company, Marcus loved to say that Neiman-Marcus was established "as a result of the bad judgment of its founders."[9] In his memoir, Marcus recalled his father as "affectionate" and his mother as even-handed in her attention to each of their children, making sure even into their adulthood to give them equivalent gifts and make sure they were praised equally.[10]

One of Stanley Marcus's first jobs was as a 10-year-old salesman of Saturday Evening Post, bringing him into the family's business tradition from a young age.[11] He attended Forest Avenue High School, where he studied debate as well as English with teacher Myra Brown, whom he later credited with much of his early interest in books.[12] He began his university studies at Amherst College, but when traditions preventing Jews from joining clubs or fraternities drastically curtailed his social life, he transferred to Harvard University after the first year.[13] At his new school, he became a member of the historically Jewish fraternity Zeta Beta Tau, later rising to become the group's president.

While living in Boston and pursuing his chosen major, English literature,[14] Marcus began a lifelong hobby of collecting rare and antique books. To finance his pursuits, he began The Book Collector's Service Bureau, a mail-order book service, beginning with a letter of introduction sent to 100 homes. The venture proved so successful that for a time Marcus considered entering that line of work full time, concerned that entering the retail business might curtail his freedom of expression in politics and other areas of interest; his father persuaded him that he would always be granted the liberty of his own views, and pointed out that retailing was more profitable and thus would allow him to amass a large book collection that much sooner.[15]

Early years at Neiman-Marcus[edit]

After receiving a B.A. degree from Harvard in 1925, he began his career at the retailer that same year as a simple stockboy organizing inventory, but upon beginning in sales, quickly outstripped other sales staff.[16] He went back to study at Harvard Business School in 1926, leaving after one year to participate in a massive expansion of the retail operation in Dallas.

He married the former Mary "Billie" Cantrell in 1932; she initially worked in the Neiman-Marcus Sports Shop department until she retired in 1936 after the birth of their first child, Jerrie, followed two years later by twins Richard and Wendy.[8] (One year after his wife's 1978 death, he married Linda Robinson, a longtime librarian at the Dallas Public Library, in a marriage that lasted until Stanley Marcus's own death in 2002.) In 1935 the Marcuses commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design a home for them on Nonesuch Road, but rejected the eventual design, which included cantilevered steel beams and terraces swathed in mosquito netting.[17][18] Instead, the couple chose a design by local firm DeWitt & Washburn,[17] whose creation became a Texas Historic Landmark.[18] As of 1937, Marcus was one of only 22 Texans to earn a salary of $50,000 or more, according to the House Ways and Means Committee; his father, Herbert, was another, earning $75,000 as company president while vice president Stanley drew an even $50,000.[19]

Marcus was responsible for a number of innovations at the Dallas retailer. He created the annual Neiman-Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in Fashion, beginning in 1938, which led to the Neiman-Marcus Exposition, a fall fashion show held annually from 1938 to 1970, then periodically thereafter.[20] His department store was the first American haute couture boutique to introduce weekly fashion shows,[21] and the first to host concurrent art exhibitions at the store itself.[22] In 1939, he established the annual Christmas Catalogue, which in 1951 offered the first of its extravagant "His & Hers Gifts," starting with a matching pair of vicuña coats, and going on to include matching bathtubs, a pair of Beechcraft airplanes, "Noah's Ark" (including pairs of animals), camels, and live tigers.[7][16][22][23]

The war years[edit]

For all his professional emphasis on glitz and glamour, he made another, very different mark on the American fashion industry when he was asked to join the War Production Board in Washington, D.C. on December 27, 1941, less than three weeks after the United States entered World War II. Ineligible for military service due to his age, he instead helped the war effort by championing the conservation of scarce resources normally devoted to fashion trends. He encouraged men to wear drooping socks (to save much-needed rubber that would normally be used for elastic[13]>) and devised regulations for the manufacture of women's and children's clothing that would enable the nation to divert more textile resources to uniforms and other war-related needs:

We settled on certain prohibitions, such as lengths, sleeve fullness, patch pockets, ensembles, sweeps of skirts, widths of belts and depth of hems. ... The restrictions we put into effect froze the fashion silhouette. It effectively prevented any change of skirt length downward and it blocked any extreme new sleeve or collar development, which might have encouraged women to discard existing clothes.
— Stanley Marcus[24]

In addition to these restrictions, Marcus recommended to the WPB that coats, suits, jackets and dresses be sold separately "to make them go further."[25] The changes were expected to create a total savings of 100,000,000 yards (91,000,000 m) of fabric to be used in the war effort.[25]

Conscious of the role of the media in fashion promotion, Marcus prompted the members of the National Retail Dry Goods Association to convince their local press outlets to treat women's fashions as a serious subject rather than as an object of ridicule.[25] He solicited nationally famous women to proclaim their support of the new standards; TIME's report on the WPB quoted author Adela Rogers St. Johns predicting, "The overdressed woman will be as unpatriotically conspicuous as though she wore a Japanese kimono."[25]

Marcus addressed the fashion press in national meetings, encouraging editors to reassure women that stores would carry adequate supply of attractive styles, in order to prevent shoppers from flooding the stores or hoarding stock.[25]TIME reported on meetings of "70 fantastic hats," representing the presence of national magazine editors from Ladies' Home Journal and Harper's Bazaar, as well as from newspapers in the urban centers of New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, all complying with the WPB's instructions for their coverage of women's and children's fashions.[25]

His work promoting cooperation with the WPB's mandates did not still Marcus's competitive instincts. With the fall of Paris, the traditional fashion capital, New York mayor Fiorello LaGuardia began to declare his city the new leader at every opportunity. To this claim, Marcus retorted in the international press, "New York is finished as a manufacturing center. ... They're making clothes in Kansas, Philadelphia and Texas now and they won't give it up. The day is gone when only a New York dress is a good dress."[26]

Faced with increasing shortages in silk and even new synthetics such as rayon, which seemed likely to create long lines of dissatisfied customers seeking a product in inadequate supply, Marcus created the Neiman Marcus Hosiery-of-the-Month Club, which sent two pair of stockings in fashionable shades to each female charge-card customer, with no membership fees. In his memoirs Marcus recalled, "Many women opened charge accounts just to become members of the club, and in a short time we had a membership of over 100,000, extending all over the country."[27]

Taking the helm[edit]

In 1950, with the death of Herbert Marcus, Sr., Stanley Marcus was elected president and CEO of the company, with Carrie Marcus Neiman as chairman of the board and other family members like Minnie Lichtenstein Marcus and Lawrence Marcus taking on more responsibilities. Neiman died in 1953, in which year TIME proclaimed that Stanley Marcus's "combination of showmanship and salesmanship" had been instrumental in increasing the company's annual revenue from $2.6 million in 1926 to $20 million.[28][29]

Marcus began yet another Neiman-Marcus tradition, the "International Fortnight," in 1957 as a way to attract customers in the lull between the fall fashion rush and the Christmas shopping crunch. The idea was inspired by seeing a store in Stockholm, Sweden,[30] that was having a France-themed sales promotion, leading Marcus to propose to the French government a sponsorship of an even more elaborate event in his own store. The initial Fortnight included concurrent events of art, symphonic music, and film at other locations around Dallas, with an Air France jet bringing "writers, painters, government officials, models, and industry leaders."[31] In the years following, the Fortnight focused on various other countries and added related food service as well as items from the relevant country in every department, ending in 1986 with the Australian Fortnight. Other international traditions introduced at Neiman's included Dallas' first espresso bar, brought by Marcus after World War II.[32]

As a retailer, Marcus believed strongly in making his store into a place where everything a customer needed could be found and, if necessary, brought to the customer's front door. He was said to have helped one customer discover the shoe size of Queen Elizabeth II so as to give the gift of stockings and a pair of shoes,[33] and he ordered that the store stock such items as a set of Steuben plates with the Mexican national crest, "because sooner or later somebody will be going to call on the President of Mexico and need a proper gift."[28] He personally delivered a fur coat to a St. Louis, Missouri, customer who could not make the trip to Dallas.[33] Another story often recounted is that of a shopper who, in searching for a present for his wife, said that he was not sure what to buy, but that he would know it when he saw it. In response, Marcus inquired about the woman's clothing sizes and asked the customer to wait briefly. Taking an oversized brandysnifter from a display, Marcus gathered cashmere sweaters of various colors, arranged them in imitation of a pousse-café, topped with a white angora sweater to simulate whipped cream, and in place of a cherry, garnished the concoction with a 10-karatrubyring, at a total cost of $25,350, which the customer gladly paid.[5][34][35][36] When one customer decided his Christmas purchases were not sufficiently impressive, Marcus helped to arrange a full duplication of the store's display window, complete with mannequins and lighting, inside the man's home.[28]

Despite his love of such larger-than-life salesmanship, Marcus also maintained the assertion of his father, Herbert, that "there is no good sale for Neiman-Marcus unless it is a good buy for the customer."[37] Stanley Marcus would sometimes persuade the buyer to purchase a lower-priced item that he considered more suitable, as when a man shopping for a mink coat for his 16-year-old daughter was personally steered by Marcus toward a $295 muskrat coat instead, as being more appropriate to her youth.[28] Marcus also routinely insisted customers would be wiser to buy the top quality of a reasonably priced line rather than scaled-down or second-rate versions of an expensive product.[38]

Marcus continued throughout his tenure to hold tightly to his father's assurance that he would be able to maintain and act on his political convictions while running the business. He supported the United Nations in its early years, an unpopular position in Dallas for that time.[22] In the early 1950s he began to explore the ramifications of ending the store's participation in the then-common practice of excluding black customers from shopping in the store, and while his legal advisors cautioned against that step, he offered support for any black entrepreneur looking to establish a quality store and, in 1954, began to hire black staff in some departments.[22]

Moving into the 1960s, Marcus became ever more convinced that his city and his company needed to take action to promote racial equality, both as a moral issue and to reduce the growing civil unrest. In 1968, he announced that Neiman-Marcus's buyers would give preference to companies employing and training significant numbers of minority employees, making his firm one of the first companies in the nation to have such a policy.[39]

Civic leadership[edit]

The Marcus family had been among the founders of Dallas' Temple Emanu-El, a Reform synagogue that is today the largest in the Southwest. Stanley Marcus became a leading figure in the temple in the 1950s[40] and a member of the American Council for Judaism despite being largely a secular Jew who once joked that he was afraid to visit Israel "because he might be converted."[22]

Marcus was well known for cultivating the arts and for defending even unpopular political causes. He introduced art exhibits at Neiman-Marcus as well as providing corporate sponsorship of artwork elsewhere in the city, and cultivated an extensive private collection. He helped found the Dallas Opera,[41] helped save the Dallas Symphony from a financial crisis,[41] and served as chairman of the board for the Dallas Museum of Fine Art (now the Dallas Museum of Art).[22][42]

While serving as museum chair, Marcus was once called upon by Fred Florence, then chairman of a major local bank and a fellow Temple Emanu-El leader, to explain his inclusion of "a lot of Communist art" he'd been told would be included in an upcoming DMFA "Sports in Art" exhibit, co-sponsored by Sports Illustrated and United States Information Agency as a fund-raiser for the 1956 Olympic team. Artists represented in the show included four supposed Communist supporters, Leon Kroll, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Ben Shahn, and William Zorach.[22][43] Asking Florence to indicate which pieces were being questioned, Marcus dismissed each claim one by one: "I don't know how anybody could think hitting a baseball was communist," Marcus said when shown Shahn's "The National Pastime." His response to Zorach's "Fisherman" was similar, as he shook his head and remarked, "I don't think too many people think fishing is communist either." Marcus followed up by going to local newspapers The Dallas Morning News and the Dallas Times-Herald and getting the publishers of both to agree that they would not stand for censorship in the arts.[42]

In organizing a 1952 exhibition of abstract art, Marcus lured local leaders to the show by two means. First, he solicited the donation of art from the collections of David Rockefeller and his brothers, along with those from other noted national business leaders. Second, he requested that the donors personally write letters of invitation to their Dallas colleagues, feeling that the otherwise suspect art would benefit from the imprimatur of respected figures known for their fine taste. His efforts were rewarded by a numerous and appreciative turnout for the show.[42]

Marcus also involved himself in issues of civil rights and social justice. One unusual case involved three male students at W. W. Samuell High School who, in 1966, were stopped at the school's front door and ordered to cut their hair in order to be admitted to the school. The young men filed a lawsuit against the Dallas Independent School District, claiming the restriction interfered with their constitutional freedom of expression. Despite not knowing the boys involved, Marcus stepped forward to champion their case before the public, taking out a newspaper ad defending the choice as a simple fashion decision rather than rebellion against authority. Additionally, he offered legal support if needed, noting in a telegram to school board president Lee McShan, Jr., "I don’t like long hair any more than the principal does, but I will fight for the rights of those students to wear hair any way they choose."[44] Though the case was lost and appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court without success, decades letter the men still appreciated Marcus' support. Paul Jarvis, one of the plaintiffs, said of Marcus after his death in 2002: "He was just a nice man and a great contributor to Dallas and to the arts. He wanted to do what was right."[45]

[edit]

Marcus used his public-relations skills once again when Dallas was labeled "City of Hate" following the November 22, 1963, assassination of United States PresidentJohn F. Kennedy. An early supporter of Kennedy's run for the presidency, Marcus had tolerated the closing of several customers' accounts when he announced his support for the candidate in the 1960 elections.[46][47] In fact, he had cautioned that Kennedy's visit be reconsidered in light of the city's earlier poor reception of Adlai Stevenson and Vice-President Lyndon Baines Johnson.[46] In Kennedy's memory, Marcus arranged to have 500 hand-typeset and bound copies printed of Kennedy's scheduled speech at the Dallas Trade Mart, of which the first copy went to Kennedy's widow, Jacqueline.[48] The following New Year's Day, 1964, Marcus took out a full-page advertorial in The Dallas Morning News titled, "What's Right With Dallas?"[49]

The editorial ad – a Neiman-Marcus tradition introduced by his father in the store's early days – both defended the city against outside critiques and offered more intimate criticisms from one who knew the town and its people well. The message said that Dallas needed to address four areas for community improvement: one, its slum problem; two, its political extremism (called "absolutism" in the text); three, too much attention to physical growth at the expense of "quality" in civic endeavors such as "schools, colleges, symphonies, operas, and museums"; and four, a need to focus less on "civic image" and more on "doing good things and not doing bad things", which he described as "the best public relations."[50] In a 2003 article on the 40th anniversary of the assassination, Ralph Blumenthal of The New York Times praised the message as "strik[ing] a perfect balance", though he notes the author met not only with support from some, but from canceled accounts and "anti-Semitic attacks" that only increased after an article in Life referenced Marcus's Jewish heritage.[51]

Following Kennedy's death, Marcus maintained close ties with Johnson and his administration, being considered for diplomatic posts to France and to the United Nations General Assembly while continuing to run his company[52][53] and providing the wedding dresses for both the Johnsons' daughters, personally assisting Luci Johnson in selecting the designer for her own dress and the styles for the bridesmaids' gowns.[54] After Johnson's retirement, Marcus's invitations were among the few the former president and his wife continued to accept.[55] Marcus's own daughter Wendy joined Mrs. Johnson's staff for a time in 1963, working under Mrs. Johnson's personal secretary, Liz Carpenter.[56]

Stepping down[edit]

In 1969 Stanley Marcus recommended to the board of directors that the company merge with Broadway-Hale of California in order to have enough capital to expand. Neiman's subsequently became a subsidiary of Carter-Hawley Hale, Inc., and Marcus accepted a position as corporate executive vice president and director of CHH.[57][58] He retired as Chairman Emeritus in 1975, turning over the store to his son, Richard C. Marcus.[41][59]

Running those poor steers back and forth in the heat is ridiculous.... What they ought to do is put the steers in the convention hall and run the delegates.
— Stanley Marcus


On Dallas' efforts to project a Western image for the Republican National Convention,
The New York Times, August 28, 1984[60]

Despite retiring officially from the company, Marcus continued to be closely involved as an advisor even through the final weeks of his life.[61] He established a sideline as a retailing consultant, maintaining regular business hours in his offices at Crescent Court for more than a decade and offering advice locally to luxury car dealership Sewell Corporation and hotelier Rosewood Corporation as well as internationally to such businessmen as Mohamed Al-Fayed of Harrods.[32][59] Called on to consult for Amazon.com's Jeff Bezos, the 94-year-old businessman recalled arriving in his customary expensive tailored suit to discover 300 casually dressed employees: "I took off my coat, my necktie and my shirt, down to my T-shirt. And then I said, 'Okay. Let’s talk.' I couldn’t have planned it better. It broke the ice. I was on stage for two hours."[62]

Legacy[edit]

In addition to writing a weekly column for The Dallas Morning News for 15 years, Marcus was the author of multiple retailing-oriented books, including Minding the Store: A Memoir (1974), the sequelQuest for the Best (1979),[63] and His & Hers: The Fantasy World of the Neiman Marcus Catalogue (1982)[64] He was a close friend of other writers, including Jane Trahey, an author and longtime advertising copywriter who at one time worked for Neiman Marcus, and historian David McCullough. A television presenter for the public broadcasting program American Experience, McCullough said he once asked Stanley Marcus – "one of the wisest men I know" – what single problem or aspect of American life, if given a magic wand, he would change, to which Marcus replied, "I'd try to do something about television." When asked why, he explained, "Because", he said, "If you could do something about television, think how far you could go to solve all the other problems."[65]

Marcus was an avid art collector, as well as amassing a collection of masks from around the world.[22] In 2002, the Sotheby's auction house mounted a sale of works from his estate, calling Marcus "an insightful and forward-looking collector and a generous lender whose contributions to exhibitions helped bring notice to the world of Latin American Art during the 40s, 50s and 60s."[66] The auction house also noted that Marcus had begun collecting at age five (influenced by his parents), but had found his interest in good design vastly deepened by a 1925 graduation trip to Europe, where he visited a famed international exhibition of decorative arts and thus was introduced to the earliest works of Art Deco. The Marcus collections included significant works by Mexican artists Rufino Tamayo, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Diego Rivera, and Rivera's lesser-known friend and colleague Antonio Ruíz; the American sculptor Alexander Calder, and American painter Georgia O'Keeffe. Marcus was friends with Rivera and Tamayo – playing a major role in bringing one of Tamayo's murals to the Dallas Museum of Art – and one of the first board members of the O'Keeffe museum, which honored him at the time of his death with a paid notice in The New York Times that stated "Stanley's generous support, leadership, enthusiasm, friendship and keen artistic judgment were instrumental in the Museum's inception and success. We shall miss him greatly."[67]

Another Marcus contribution to the arts was his own work in the area of photography. Over the course of his adult life, Marcus took thousands of photographs, both of famous and anonymous subjects, which he turned over to granddaughter Allison V. Smith, a professional photographer, upon moving out of his Nonesuch Road home into a smaller residence in the late 1990s.[68] Two years after his death, Smith began making digital scans of the photos and posting them to the sharing site Flickr; despite the fact that their authorship was not identified, within a year the photographs had drawn 10,000 views.[69] For the 100th anniversary of Neiman Marcus, Smith and her mother, Jerrie Marcus Smith, decided to assemble a representative selection of the nearly 5,000 images into a book;[70] titled Reflection of a Man, the 192-page book was published by Cairn Press in October, 2007, and accompanied by an exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art.[68][69]

Southern Methodist University hosts a Stanley Marcus collection at its DeGolyer Library in Dallas, including photographs, correspondence, and clippings. The library also houses a collection of more than 8,000 books donated by Marcus, including 1,100 miniature books, many from the press he founded.[71]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Inaugural inductee, Retailing Hall of Fame (2004)
  • First recipient of the Design Patron award, National Design Awards (2001)[72]
  • Inductee, Advertising Hall of Fame (1999)
  • Honoree, Linz Award (1995)
  • Inductee, Texas Business Hall of Fame (1984)[59]
  • Honorary doctoral degree recipient, North Texas State University (1983)[59]
  • Honorary Fellow, American Institute of Architects (1972)
  • Honorary doctoral degree recipient, Southern Methodist University (1965)[73]
  • Recipient, National Retail Merchants Association gold medal (1961)[59]
  • New York Fashion Designers Annual Award (1958)[59]
  • Chevalier Award, French Legion of Honor, presented on March 27, 1949, by Henri Bonnet, French Ambassador to the United States, "for eminent services to the cause of French industrial and commercial recovery"[4]
  • Elected chairman, American Retailing Federation[30]
  • Listed, "The Tallest Texans", Houston Chronicle - profiles of 100 key figures in the state's history[5]
  • Listed, "20th Century Great American Business Leaders", Harvard Business School[6]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^David R. Farmer. Stanley Marcus: A Life with Books, TCU Press, 1995, p. 141. ISBN 0-87565-147-X.
  2. ^"Personal" (column), The Dallas Morning News, November 9, 1905, page 5.
  3. ^Frank X. Tolbert. Neiman-Marcus, Texas, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1953, page 19.
  4. ^ ab"The furrowed brow,"TIME Magazine, April 4, 1949. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  5. ^ abcThe Tallest Texans, Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-05-23.
  6. ^ abHarvard Business School. "20th century Great American Business Leaders". Retrieved 2007-05-20. 
  7. ^ abAdvertising Hall of Fame. "Stanley Marcus". Retrieved 2007-05-20. 
  8. ^ abRose G. Biderman. They Came to Stay: The Story of the Jews of Dallas 1870-1997. 2002, Eakin Press. (ISBN 1-57168-648-7)
  9. ^Stanley Marcus (1974). Minding the Store: A Memoir, 1993 Plume edition, p. 1.
  10. ^Minding the Store, p. 17.
  11. ^Minding the Store, p. 26.
  12. ^Farmer, p. 3.
  13. ^ abRichard Reeves, "Stanley Marcus Was a Great American" (column), Universal Press Syndicate, January 24, 2002. Retrieved Nov. 6, 2006.
  14. ^Minding the Store, p. 35.
  15. ^Minding the Store, pp. 25–29.
  16. ^ ab"The Man Who Sells Everything", TIME, December 26, 1960. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  17. ^ abStephen Fox. "Dallas Modern: A Perspective on the Modern Movement in Dallas", Architecturally Significant Homes Online. Retrieved 2008-05-23.
  18. ^ abDallas County Historical Commission. Dallas County Historical Markers, retrieved 2008-05-23: "After dismissing Frank Lloyd Wright for his failure to produce a suitable design, Stanley Marcus commissioned Dallas architect Roscoe Dewitt to design this International style residence. ... Completed in 1938 and home to the Marcus family until 1994, the house is a notable example of its style in Texas. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark – 2001."
  19. ^"22 Texans received salaries of $50,000 or more during year 1937", The Port Arthur News, April 7, 1939, page 5.
  20. ^Biderman, p. 59
  21. ^"Stanley Marcus Timeline", Texas Monthly, March 2002
  22. ^ abcdefghWilliam Schack, "Neiman-Marcus of Texas" (article), Commentary magazine, 24:3, 212-222, September 1957.
  23. ^Neiman Marcus, Historical Timeline. Retrieved 2008-05-23.
  24. ^Maria Halkias. "Retail legend Stanley Marcus reflects on industry at war", The Dallas Morning News, December 25, 2001
  25. ^ abcdef(No author.) "In the Stretch,"TIME, April 20, 1942. Retrieved August 6, 2007.
  26. ^(No author.) "New York? Bah!"TIME, Oct. 25, 1943. Retrieved 2007-08-06.
  27. ^Marcus, Minding the Store, p. 119.
  28. ^ abcd(No author.) "Mr. Stanley knows best," TIME, September 21, 1953.
  29. ^http://www.businessinsider.com/most-famous-harvard-students-2011-1?op=1
  30. ^ abEric Pace. "Stanley Marcus, the Retailer From Dallas, Is Dead at 96,"The New York Times, January 23, 2002. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  31. ^Biderman, p. 60.
  32. ^ abMark Seal. "Life of a sales-man", Texas Monthly, Vol. 20, Issue 12, December 1992.
  33. ^ abRay Suarez and Nancy Koehn. "Retail in America,"The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, January 25, 2002 (transcript). Retrieved 2008-05-23.
  34. ^David G. McComb. Texas, a modern history. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1989, page 181.
  35. ^Maria Halkias. "Test your Neiman-Marcus knowledge,"The Dallas Morning News, September 12, 2007. Retrieved 2008-05-06.
  36. ^Minding the Store, page 86.
  37. ^Steve Kaufman. "Back to the future: Neiman Marcus turns 100 this week with an eye already on 200,"Visual Merchandising and Store Design Online, November 20, 2007. Retrieved 2008-05-24.
  38. ^Mimi Swartz. "Cheap or chic", Slate, December 29, 2004.
  39. ^(No author.) "Time to Get Involved,"TIME, January 19, 1968. Retrieved 2007-08-06.
  40. ^"Temple in Texas," February 11, 1957. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  41. ^ abcHon. Eddie Bernice Johnson. "Tribute to Mr. Stanley Marcus," U.S. House of Representatives, February 5, 2002
  42. ^ abcGlenna Whitley. "The Soul of Stanley Marcus", D Magazine, April 1995.
  43. ^(No author.) "Dallas armistice," TIME, March 12, 1956.
  44. ^Tom Stuckey, Associated Press. "Musicians barred from class – Longhairs promise school rule battle," Indiana Evening Gazette, September 10, 1966, page 14.
  45. ^Michael E. Young. "In '66, their hair triggered a to-do: Stylish Marcus proved an ally in band's battle to keep long locks," The Dallas Morning News, March 4, 2002.
  46. ^ abBiderman, p. 269.
  47. ^Minding the Store, p. 252.
  48. ^Rebuilding of a City: Stanley Marcus, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. Retrieved 2008-05-23.
  49. ^High-resolutionJPEG file of "What's Right With Dallas?" from the Marcus Collection, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. Retrieved 2008-05-23.
  50. ^Stanley Marcus. "What's right with Dallas?" The Dallas Morning News, January 1, 1964, section 4, page 1.
  51. ^Ralph Blumenthal. "Dallas comes to terms with the day that defined it", The New York Times, November 20, 2003.
  52. ^HTNS. "Jackie's name enters diplomatic switch rumors," The Chronicle-Telegram, Elyria, Ohio, September 2, 1964, page 3: "Should Mrs. Kennedy ... turn down the Paris post an alternative is said to be right at hand. He is Stanley Marcus, of the giant Nieman [sic] – Marcus Department Store in Dallas. Like Mrs. Kennedy, Marcus is at ease speaking French, has visited France regularly for years and has made a steadfast avocation of foreign affairs. Moreover, he is reported to be a friend and booster of President Johnson."
  53. ^Document 414. Memorandum From Nathaniel Davis of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant (Rostow), March 17, 1967. Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, Volume XXXIII, Organization and Management of Foreign Policy; United Nations: "SUBJECT: U.S. Delegation to the UN GA Special Session ... (Incidentally, I understand Stanley Marcus would be happy to serve on the U.S. Delegation next autumn if he were asked again.)"
  54. ^Frances Lewine. "Luci chooses blends of pink for bridal gowns, flowers", The Gettysburg Times, July 19, 1966, page 8: "Luci had the aid of family friend Stanley Marcus, president of the Neiman-Marcus department store in Dallas, Tex., in picking the bridesmaids' gowns and designer."
  55. ^Chapter 10, LBJ's Texas White House: "Our Heart's Home". Retrieved 2008-05-23.
  56. ^"Wendy Marcus joins Mrs. Johnson's staff", The Dallas Morning News, December 10, 1963, section 3, page 5.
  57. ^Biderman, p. 61.
  58. ^ImagesFashion.com. "Retail Pioneer Stanley Marcus Passes Away". Archived from the original on May 5, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-20. 
  59. ^ abcdef"Former Neiman Marcus exec Stanley Marcus dies,"Dallas Business Journal, January 23, 2002. Retrieved 2008-05-23.
  60. ^Simpson’s Contemporary Quotations, Compilation 1988 by James B. Simpson. Retrieved 2008-05-23.
  61. ^Maria Halkias. Neiman Marcus to Feel Loss of Chairman Emeritus Stanley Marcus", The Dallas Morning News, January 28, 2002
  62. ^Philosophical Society of Texas. Memorials: H. Stanley Marcus, 1905-2002. Retrieved 2008-05-23.
  63. ^Quest for the Best: Texas A&M University Press, 2001 paperback edition information. Retrieved 2008-05-23.
  64. ^Farmer, p. 101.
  65. ^David McCullough. "After all we’ve done, think how much more we can do", Current, July 21, 1997. Retrieved 2008-05-23.
  66. ^"Sotheby's To Offer Property From The Estate Of Stanley Marcus Fall 2002". Archived from the original on June 18, 2004. Retrieved 2007-05-20. 
  67. ^Marcus, Stanley, The New York Times, January 24, 2002. Retrieved 2008-05-23.
  68. ^ abEric Wilson. "Grandma, Cousin Billy, Christian Dior,"The New York Times, January 3, 2008, page G4.
  69. ^ abJackie Bolin. "Stanley Marcus' granddaughter shares his gift, and the result is a stunning new book,"The Dallas Morning News, F!DLuxe magazine, October 2007, page 27. Online edition posted October 3, 2007, and retrieved 2009-03-21.
  70. ^Rita Braver. "Shop talk,"CBS Sunday Morning, December 16, 2007. (video; related text available as "100 years of luxury: the holidays are Neiman Marcus's time to shine")
  71. ^Description of collections at the DeGolyer Library. Retrieved 2008-05-23.
  72. ^Amanda Burden receives Design Patron Award at Cooper Hewitt’s National Design Awards," press release, October 20, 2004 (retrieved 2008-05-23): Ms. Burden joins previous winners Stanley Marcus, hotelier Andre Balazs and Gordon Segal of Crate & Barrel.
  73. ^"Kudos,"TIME, June 11, 1965. Retrieved 2008-06-18.

Additional references[edit]

External links[edit]

Memorial Hall at Harvard College
Cover of 2001 edition of Minding the Store, UNT Press

By the last night, people are pledging to invite everyone they know. At the end, Willmore scrawls on the board the phrase LIFE IS EMPTY AND MEANINGLESS, AND IT'S EMPTY AND MEANINGLESS THAT IT'S EMPTY AND MEANINGLESS on the board, and the room goes nuts. Everyone's getting it, even a brunette publicist who complained earlier that she felt like the "bullshit police" -- though, as Willmore says, "there's nothing to get."

Much of what the Forum teaches comes down to the Nike slogan -- "Just Do It." But after three days of homework assignments and rigorous exercises like the "fear conversation" -- in which everyone is encouraged to look around them, be afraid, and then conquer that -- participants walk away with a catharsis and an unholy confidence in what they can accomplish. Whatever people come in wanting to do but are afraid to follow through on they tend to leave seeing as their destiny revealed, whether it's getting a divorce or getting off the grid. "You could die tomorrow," Willmore declares repeatedly. "There is no someday to do this stuff -- the time is now."

By the end of my Forum, a gay 30-year-old has come out to his parents and a septuagenarian has proposed to his longtime girlfriend. "It's hard, especially when you get really deep, but it's a complete transformation," says Lavinia Errico, the co-founder of the Equinox gym chain who sold it for a reported $150 million in December and took the course months ago. "Before, I was this tragically hip girl -- nails, feet, outfits, everything had to be perfect. I was always like, 'I'm moving, I'm shaking, I've got no time for you.' I was freely expressed, but I was freely expressed as a bitch! Now sometimes I hear myself talking, and I'm like, 'God, I'm such a cornball!' But I'm closer to who I really want to be."

At the back of the room, Robin Quivers is watching the proceedings intently -- Willmore was her Forum leader, and she sometimes comes by when he's in town. Though Quivers wrote a book about her unhappy childhood (her mother was physically abusive and her father molested her), it's the Forum that helped her truly put away the past. "I called up my mother and asked, 'Mom, will you come spend my birthday with me?' " says Quivers. "When I said that, she was so frightened. My mother was scared of me because I had spent my whole life making her wrong! Once I got that, I called her back and said, 'You know what, Mom? I really want you to come, and bring the whole family!' And they all came, to my apartment for the first time, to the radio station, just all over." She pauses. "My father died the following year. So it really was an amazing opportunity."

During one of the half-hour breaks, I run down to America's Coffee with Alex Kuscher, a petite blonde registered by Tootsie's best friend. After we discover that the guy pouring our coffee had also signed up for a Forum, Alex tells me that the man Tootsie met on the subway is in our course, wearing an old pair of eyeglasses Tootsie asked her to give him. "You can't miss Jerry," she laughs. "He's the guy wearing women's glasses." Sure enough, there he is in the front row, looking up words like authentic and meaningless in a French-English dictionary, wearing glasses with arms that only reach his temples.

Jerry left his own glasses in the Democratic Republic of Congo. After his father was murdered before his eyes, Jerry became more active in an opposition party. One day the house where he lived was set on fire and he was taken captive. Months later, he escaped in the back of a truck to a town where he was able to contact his uncle, who sent Jerry his passport, a plane ticket to New York, and $100, most of which he spent on the taxi from JFK. He slept on the street, then stayed at a shelter until he found room and board at a synagogue in Williamsburg, where he works as a maintenance man and Shabbos goy. Then he met Tootsie and he learned how to tune out his soap opera.

Sprawling over an entire floor of a skyscraper in San Francisco's financial district, with a half-dozen clocks for various time zones hanging over the receptionist's desk, the world headquarters of Landmark looks every bit the office of an information-age global corporation. Which, of course, it is. "We're all over, as you can see," says Landmark's CEO, Harry Rosenberg, his gold Neiman Marcus tie swinging as he extends an arm to a world map marked with tiny red dots. "Next, we're thinking Korea, Hong Kong, China, Singapore. We're already in two cities in Japan. Japan is ridiculous!"

A chatty father of two who likes to golf, Rosenberg has a salesman's tendency to overuse names and a self-deprecating, me, a CEO? kind of laugh. He's been the head of Landmark Education Corporation since 1991, when he and a handful of employees bought "the technology" from Erhard, who, as it happens, is Rosenberg's older brother. Rosenberg was 10 when Erhard left Pennsylvania, and, along with the rest of his family, heard nothing from him for twelve years -- "Literally, we didn't know if he was dead or alive." One day, Erhard appeared on the Rosenbergs' doorstep, and soon Harry moved to San Francisco to work for est. "The healing process that happened there was great," says Rosenberg, nodding. His own 8-year-old daughter just completed the children's Forum.

Though it was rumored that Erhard sold his system for $1, it was later revealed that he received an initial payment of $3 million in addition to an eighteen-year licensing fee that was not to exceed $15 million; Erhard kept the Mexican and Japanese branches of the operation. By then, est had fallen out of favor: At best, it was seen as a seventies fad; at worst, a successful scam. Even as Erhard planned to sell his company and leave the U.S., the 60 Minutes segment reported that est had an elaborate series of offshore tax shelters, and two of Erhard's daughters were accusing him of sexual abuse. (His daughters later recanted.)

To Erhard's supporters it was a setup, engineered by disgruntled ex-esties and the Church of Scientology. According to 60 Minutes and the Assassination of Werner Erhard, a Landmark-approved book on the subject by Dr. Jane Self, Scientology considered Erhard a traitor for what the church considered the liberal use of its techniques. "Werner made some very, very powerful enemies," says Rosenberg. "They really got him."

The exposé only reinforced the group's persecution complex; details of the company's operations are closely guarded. "No one in the organization gossips," says Suzie Simmons, a professional coach. "Gossip kills organizations." Convinced the company is misunderstood, Landmark diehards tend to close ranks. "Anyone who wasn't a part of Landmark was basically to be looked down upon, like an enemy," says White, a former volunteer. Eventually, "I really didn't have any friends outside of Landmark. And other people really didn't like me after a while."

When Landmark is challenged, it sometimes responds in court. It's brought libel suits against Berkeley professor Margaret Singer for her book Cults in Our Midst, and against the Cult Awareness Network, which had provided information about the organization to concerned callers. Both cases were settled out of court, and can stated that it "does not hold, and has never held . . . that Landmark is a cult or sect." (A bankrupt can was purchased by a Scientologist shortly before the settlement.)

Landmark often justifies the value of its courses by citing a 1997 Harvard Business School case study, "Landmark Education Corporation: Selling a Paradigm Shift," which outlines the company's business practices and underlying message in glowing terms but doesn't cover the psychological aspects or effectiveness of Landmark's programs. As of this year, Harvard is no longer printing the study, teaching from it in courses, or keeping it in its library. "Landmark ordered 75,000 copies of the study," says a source at the school. "That's when we knew we had a problem." (Landmark's spokesman, Mark Kamin, calls this figure "grossly inaccurate.")

Last year, Landmark had revenues of $58 million, and Rosenberg says the company has bought outright Erhard's license and his rights to Japan and Mexico. Entirely employee-owned and run by a board of directors elected by the staff, Landmark also draws on the expertise of successful devotees like Mick Leavitt, producer of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, who works part-time in Landmark's business-development department. Eventually, says Rosenberg, that development might even include leaving behind some of the hard sell associated with Landmark's courses. "We've been accused of pressuring people in terms of our, quote, 'sales,' and we're out to avoid any of that," he says. Instead, "I'd like to experiment with advertising," he continues. "We're coming out with an audiotape. We'll probably do a book." Rosenberg is also "committed" that within five years Landmark will have an IPO.

The big question, of course, is, what exactly is the Forum selling? "There's no question that the combination of examination, encouragement, and the act of speaking out has been shown to have the psychological benefit of freeing people up to see things about themselves that they never have before," says analyst Kevin Garvey. "My problem is that there's an amount of control going on that Landmark's not honest about. People are being put into a state where they are -- here's the bogey word -- hypnotizable. So I don't care if they can screw better or make more money -- their freedom is being taken away. Can you have freedom without knowledge? I think the answer is no."

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