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A design and branding expert, Marie Rao has held a number of esteemed roles within the fashion industry and is looked to as a leading voice. Currently, she serves as Chief Executive Officer of MRao Design Consulting Group. Previously and most recently, she served as Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer, Women’s Private Brands for Hudson’s Bay Company, designing womenswear for two of North America’s most iconic department stores: Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay.

Ms. Rao has spent her career in retail and design leadership functions across the world. Prior to joining Hudson’s Bay Company in November 2012, she served as Chief Design Officer at New York & Company from 2007 to 2010. Concurrently, she served on the Board of Directors for Crocs from 2006 to 2008.

In the years prior to joining this organization, she led her own branding and design consultant agency, MRao Designs LLC, for international retailers and private equity firms.

From 1997 to 2006, as President at Limited Design Services, Ms. Rao led a think tank of 60 designers, working on special projects for the Chairman; in this role, she created Victoria’s Secret PINK and Body by Victoria for Victoria’s Secret. Her leadership also included the branding and design for C.O. Bigelow stores and Bath & Body Works.

Ms. Rao served as Executive Vice President of Design and later as President of Banana Republic, from 1993 to 1997.

In her early career, Ms. Rao worked in many executive merchandising roles at Perry Ellis, Adrienne Vibadini and Macy’s. 

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