Erika Fry

Lee Scott joins Tory Burch board

October 17, 2013: 12:24 PM ET

Burch says the former Wal-Mart President and CEO "adds a lot of spice."

By Erika Fry, reporter


131017121621-tory-burch-mpw-620xaFORTUNE -- Tory Burch, valued at more than $3 billion and known for its wildly popular ballet flats and print tunics, has also been adding some flair to its board of late.

The company recently added Lee Scott, the former President and CEO of Wal-Mart (WMT), to its board, CEO Tory Burch told Fortune Thursday morning at the Most Powerful Women Summit.

"He adds a lot of spice. He's a lot of fun," Burch said of Scott, who is joined by a handful of other new board members including Richard Funes, the outgoing CFO of Estee Lauder, and investors Byron Trott, CEO of BDT Capital Partners and Bill Ford, CEO of General Atlantic.

The new members are part of Burch's effort to bring in different perspective and "round out" the board. "I wanted to have a board that was strategic, and that would really help us look as we expanded in the U.S. and internationally."

MORE: Complete coverage of the Most Powerful Women Summit

But new board members are only part of the story at Tory Burch, which also launched a fragrance and announced plans to make watches earlier this year. The company also settled a bitter legal battle with Burch's ex-husband (and father of three of her children), Chris Burch, who after the divorce, founded C. Wonder, a company that looked and operated a lot like Tory Burch. As part of the settlement, Trott and Ford purchased half of Chris Burch's stake in the company, leaving Tory owning an estimated 38% of the company.

"It was hard for me because of my family," said Burch, who said her objective was to settle the legal suits quickly and effectively. She also focused on leadership and maintaining composure through the ordeal. "A lot of lessons came out of it. We're in a great place," she added.

How does she plan to keep that momentum going? Despite the company's go-go, global growth Burch, who started the company less than 10 years ago in her Upper East Side kitchen, remains humble. "We think a lot about how to maintain that start-up mentality as the company gets bigger."

"On some levels we're just beginning. We look at ourselves as moving forward with momentum but always evolving," she said. "We have a lot to do and a lot we want to do."

Burch will soon be joined in the fashion business by two of her stepdaughters, who are launching their own company. Her advice to them -- Burch is a "little bit" involved -- "Buckle up. To be in business as a startup, you have no idea what will come your way."

About This Author
Erika Fry
Erika Fry
Fortune

Erika Fry joined Fortune in October 2012 and writes on a variety of topics for the web and magazine. Previously, she wrote for Columbia Journalism Review and The Bangkok Post. She graduated from Dartmouth and holds an M.A. in Journalism from Columbia University. She lives in New York City.

Email Erika Fry | @erikafry
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