The Fifth Avenue Association, a not-for-profit business improvement district, seeks a new President to lead the organization. The changes underway in the retail industry are forever changing how people shop and how they choose to spend their time. Fifth Avenue is facing new competition both domestically and internationally. These competitive shopping venues have the potential to impact the future status of Fifth Avenue as the best shopping street in the world. In order to retain Avenue’s status and prominence the Association has proposed a $250 million renovation of Fifth Avenue and is working with the City of New York to implement a physical renovation of the Avenue.
The Fifth Avenue Association was founded in 1907 based on a belief that commercial progress and the growth of land values are the direct consequences of organized communal effort. The Association’s original vision was to safeguard the Avenue and elevate the design standards and beauty of the Avenue. The Association was the first community organization in New York City that made changes to improve a street and the surrounding neighborhood. The Association’s initial work included widening sections of the Avenue, clearing sidewalks of obstructions, removing projecting signs, increasing police protection, and barring peddlers and loiterers. The problem of traffic regulation received scientific study. Another fundamental principal of the Association was that art and industry go hand-in-hand. The Association promoted architectural harmony and presented yearly prizes for the best new buildings and the best renovated buildings.
Today the Association’s goal is to ensure Fifth Avenue is the most beautiful, welcoming, dynamic, and engaging street in the world. The Association believes Fifth Avenue must first and foremost welcome all New Yorkers and be a place where locals choose to spend their time. The Association is presently working with the City of New York to implement a $250 million renovation of the street, sidewalks, and public spaces. This renovation will focus on place making by prioritizing people over vehicles. Tree-lined streets with gardens and cafe seating will encourage all people to come to the Avenue, stay on the Avenue and enjoy the public spaces.
The Fifth Avenue Association boundaries extend from 46th Street to 60th Street and along 57th Street between Madison Avenue and Sixth Avenue. In 1993, the Association officially became a Business Improvement District, BID with an annual budget of $4 MM. Today the Association’s annual budget is $8 MM. The Association has a stellar reputation for providing supplemental security and sanitation service. The consistency and dependability of these services has allowed Fifth Avenue to maintain its status as one of the best shopping streets in the world. Over 300,000 people visit the Avenue each day.
Today, over 100 years since its beginnings, the Fifth Avenue Association faces new challenges. These challenges are as important as the original issues the Association was formed to address. Technology, work from home and demographic changes are producing seismic shifts in the retail industry, with important implications for commercial and residential real estate. Successful retail brands are reinventing their business strategies specifically to focus on customer engagement, customer acquisition and customer retention. It’s simply not enough to open a store. Social media strategies are equally important as real estate strategies. Additionally, Fifth Avenue is facing new competition locally and globally. In the past there was one high street to shop in New York. Today customers have choices including Soho, the Meatpacking District, Hudson Yards, and the Financial District. Each of these neighborhoods offer unique experiences and luxury shopping. In a global world, Fifth Avenue is competing for customers who can choose Paris, London, or Milan over New York.
The Board is seeking a President who can identify, develop and implement strategies to protect and enhance the power of the Fifth Avenue brand. The objective is to ensure the district retains its special character for shoppers, office workers, and residents. The Avenue must welcome all and be a public space that inspires people around the world to visit. The new President of the Fifth Avenue Association will first maintain the existing services of the BID at the highest level, while simultaneously developing and enacting marketing and place making changes.
Ultimately, Fifth Avenue must retain its status as the most recognized high street in the world. The Avenue has been an inspiration and an aspiration for cities around the world. The Association must work to ensure Fifth Avenue remains the best example of global high street in the world. Fifth Avenue must continue to define New York City to the world. A dynamic Fifth Avenue serves all New Yorkers including office workers, retailers, tourists, and locals.
• Serve as leader of an organization responsible for maintaining the status and image of Fifth Avenue
• Oversee the marketing and direct the social media strategy for Fifth Avenue
• Maintain Fifth Avenue’s status as the best-known street in the world
• Oversee and implement best practices for security and street cleaning throughout the district 365 days a year
• Work with and support the Board, its committees, and the general membership
• Prepare and administer the annual budget
• Oversee a staff which today consists of forty-one employees
• Coordinate the BID’s supplemental programs with appropriate City agencies such as the Police, Sanitation, Transportation, and Small Business Services
• Liaise with the Community Board and other community organizations, and with elected officials
• Respond to (and anticipate, where possible) potential governmental actions that have implications for the district
• Act as principal media spokesperson for the organization
• Seek new sources of funding for the BID
• Cultivate new opportunities for cultural offerings as well as offer guidance on the aesthetics of the district renovations and improvements
• Create and implement experiential attractions, including the renovation of the street, sidewalks, and public spaces
• Generate new and expand existing revenues through marketing and partnerships
• Work with the world’s top cultural institutions to increase visitor traffic
• Work with the hotels to drive occupancy and room rates
• Implement policies, procedures, and best practices to increase retail sales
The qualifications below include many of the attributes desired in the ideal candidate.
The Association is looking for a candidate with experience and expertise in i) government, ii) marketing and communications iii) retail, and (iv) organizational leadership. The board of the Fifth Avenue Association recognizes, however, that the best candidate may not have experience in all these areas and therefore may need to be supplemented with additional resources at the board or staff level.
• Seasoned, leader with experience leading an organization
• Professional problem solver
• Experience in marketing and social media management and strategy
• Expertise in retail and hospitality
• Expertise in event planning and support, as well as an understanding of cultural connections and opportunities
• Expertise in “placemaking” activities and a vision for expansion and improvement
• Experience working with BIDs or the government in New York City
• Knowledge of urban planning / zoning policies and practices
• Strong communications skills, to advocate for proposals both internally and externally (e.g., with government, owners, the press, and others)
• Ability to lead an organization, including staff supervision and development, budget management, and board relations
• Ability to present and explain strategic and financial plans to staff and board with honesty and clarity in order to provide guidance and to establish a collaborative organizational environment
The President of the Association reports to the Chairman of the Board. The President meets weekly with the Board Chair. The President meets every other week with the Executive Committee and semi-annually with the Board of Directors.
For more information about the Fifth Avenue Association, please visit their website at: https://fiftheavenue.nyc
The Fifth Avenue Association has retained the services of Harris Rand Lusk to conduct this search. Inquiries, nominations and applications may be directed in confidence to:
Jack Lusk, Managing Partner & CEO
Harris Rand Lusk
260 Madison Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10016
All positions at the Fifth Avenue Association are filled without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, HIV/AIDS status, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law. All are encouraged to apply.
Email your resume and cover letter to Sabrina Stoker at: [email protected]
Please put “Fifth Avenue Association” in the subject line of your emailed application.
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