Anne Elisabeth Jane Claiborne was a Belgian-born American
fashion designer and businesswoman. Her success was built
upon stylish yet affordable apparel for career women
featuring colorfully tailored separates that could be mixed
and matched. Claiborne is best known for co-founding Liz
Claiborne Inc., which in 1986 became the first company
founded by a woman to make the Fortune 500 list. Claiborne
was the first woman to become chair and CEO of a Fortune 500
Liz Claiborne Inc. was founded in 1976 by Liz Claiborne, Art Ortenberg,
Leonard Boxer, and Jerome Chazen. In 1980, Nina McLemore founded Liz
Claiborne Accessories. Liz Claiborne Inc. went public in 1981 and
had made the Fortune 500 list in 1986. After retiring in 1989, Claiborne
died on June 26, 2007, at the age of 78 from complications from cancer.
On October 8, 2009, JC Penney Co. (based out of Plano, TX), announced
that it would become the exclusive retailer for the Liz Claiborne brand.
On May 15, 2012, Liz Claiborne Inc. officially became Fifth & Pacific,
Inc. and shifted focus to three brands – Juicy Couture, Kate Spade New
York, and Lucky Brand Jeans.
On February 25, 2014, Fifth & Pacific was renamed Kate Spade & Company.
Craig A. Leavitt succeeded William McComb, whose retirement marked the
official end of the company's transformation from Liz Claiborne to Kate
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