Baker Executive Speaker Series: Oliver Chen (Managing Director, Cowen & Co) Chris Blakeslee (President & CEO of Athleta)

Oliver Chen, CFA, Cowen and Company

Oliver Chen has joined Cowen and Company’s Equity Research department as a Managing Director and Senior Equity Research Analyst. He covers over 30 stocks in the Retail & Luxury Sectors. He is a graduate of Georgetown University, The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and is a CFA Charterholder. He also serves on the PhD Retail Research Review committee at the Wharton School’s Jay H. Baker Retailing Center. Mr. Chen was recognized in the Wharton School’s “40 Under 40” brightest stars alumni list in 2017. Most recently, Mr. Chen was recognized on the 2018 and 2017 Institutional Investor All-America Research team as a top analyst in the retailing/department stores & specialty softlines sector. Mr. Chen was also selected as a preeminent retail influencer as he was named to the National Retail Federation (NRF) Foundation’s “2019 List of People Shaping Retail’s Future.” Considered an “industry expert,” Mr. Chen frequently appears as a speaker/panelist at key industry events.


On Markers Of Brand Success: We’re looking at many data signals to determine sensitivity to earnings per share drivers. We also have a consumer survey where we survey people on brands and whether they like it or not. There’s also cultural relevance, which is a little trickier. It’s magic and logic. Retail is a willingness to pay model.


Chris Blakeslee, President and CEO, Athleta

Chris Blakeslee as the new President and CEO of Athleta, joining the company August 7, 2023. In this role, Blakeslee will drive strategic growth for the portfolio’s nearly $1.5 billion women’s active and lifestyle brand, and certified B Corporation, building on the foundation of Athleta’s product innovation and its mission to ignite a community of active, healthy, confident women and girls who empower each other to reach their true potential through the ‘Power of She.’ Blakeslee brings broad expertise in the apparel retail and wholesale industries, holding roles across marketing, sales, product portfolio management, operations, and supply chain, serving most recently as President of sister companies Alo Yoga and Bella+Canvas since 2017. In that time, Alo Yoga grew to over $1 billion in sales in 2022, nearly doubling its year-over-year growth.


On Providing Value To The Consumer: We have to show up really authentically across the spectrum of consumer ages. Brands sometimes decide they want a particular group and ignore the group they already have. That’s not necessary to do. The conversation we’re having is, ‘How do we develop timeless style through storytelling and community?’