Rodney Hutton: Authentic Leadership, Honest Dialogue, and Taking a Brand Stand

In today’s episode, I have the opportunity to speak with brand leader and CMO Rodney Hutton. In his 25 years of experience with some of the world’s most notable brands, he has honed his full expertise in business management, design, merchandising, creative development, and global marketing strategies. Rodney shares his unique journey into leading some of those global brands, and how he has done so through honest conversations with his team regarding business, crisis, and race. We discuss why brands can take a stand and do the right thing, and the difference between being “political” and simply being humane.

Key Takeaways:

  • Call out the discomfort, call out the not knowing. The ability to be unsure is okay. The power in attempting to connect and showing personal and professional vulnerability is priceless.
  • The business of business is meeting and interacting through honest dialogue and candid conversation.
  • In today’s highly polarized society, the way for companies to rise above it is to default to their humanity.

“Leadership is about getting it done, but it isn’t about ‘you’ getting it done. Successful leaders leverage the talent at their disposal to get it done. How you do that is stylistic, philosophical. It’s the blend of elevating somebody who works with you to a thought leader position, being an arbiter of open and comfortable discussion, and creating an environment where dialogue is encouraged and candid to be able to leverage your team.” —  Rodney Hutton

About Rodney Hutton, Chief Marketing Officer, Ethan Allen:

Rodney Hutton is an entrepreneurial product-driven brand marketing executive. Hutton’s full suite of expertise in business management, design, merchandising, creative development, and global marketing strategies, have been groomed over 25 years of working with some of the world’s most notable brand marketers including Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld, Ann Klein, and Iconix Brand Group, amongst others. In 2007, Hutton founded Fashion Iconic LLC, a consulting firm that offered private equity groups strategic insights and options into brand value in both pre- and post-acquisition considerations.  In 2015, Hutton, in partnership, founded Simon James London & Empire Beauty Group, an innovative boutique fine fragrance and beauty company that designs, manufactures, markets, and distributes a growing portfolio of unique licensed fine fragrance and organic beauty brands. Since 2019, Hutton has served as the CMO of Ethan Allen Interiors Inc., one of the nation’s largest furniture and interior design companies, and has been instrumental in driving the brand’s growth and modernization efforts working closely with legendary Chairman and CEO Farooq Kathwari. Hutton holds a Bachelor of Arts in business and political science from the City University of New York.

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