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Who will be the Newsmaker of 2012? WWD editors have chosen a host of nominees, from designers to industrialists, retailers to Internet denizens, all of whom have made dramatic headlines this year. The winner, chosen by WWD editors, will be published in our annual Year in Fashion issue on Dec. 10. We’ll also compare our choice with the popular vote tallied on WWD.com.
TITLE: Chief executive officer
COMPANY: Pershing Square Capital Management
NOMINATED FOR: Ackman has become the highest-profile activist investor in fashion — cajoling, nudging and investing in the worlds of retail, beauty and real estate. He was key to installing Ron Johnson as ceo at J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and has continued to support the former Apple Inc. bigwig even as his overhaul of the chain grew more difficult than expected this year.
Ackman, who controls 25.2 percent of Penney’s stock, acknowledged Penney’s overall results look “terrible.” But he has noted the chain’s new in-store shops are outperforming the legacy business and described the transformation as “winding down the old JCP and using the cash flow from the old JCP to fund the growth of this [new] business.”
If that weren’t enough to keep him busy, Ackman also turned his eye to beauty giant Procter & Gamble Co., snatching up control of more than 34.4 million shares of the company, a 1.3 percent stake. “There’s not a culture of efficiency,” Ackman has said of P&G. “This is a very fat and bloated company.” P&G has been cutting costs and focusing on innovation. Ackman has also played matchmaker among the landlords, trying to orchestrate a Simon Property Group Inc. takeover of General Growth Properties Inc.
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