A well-recognized figure within the retail, fashion and investment communities, Kirk Palmer founded the company 29 years ago with a desire to leverage his diverse industry background to help businesses make smart leadership and people decisions. With this founding principle, Kirk built the firm by hiring great people with real industry experience, who embody the values of Kirk Palmer Associates and who build deep trust and credibility with clients and candidates.
Prior to founding the firm in 1987, Kirk had an extensive career in department and specialty store retailing, initially with May Department Stores, which at the time was the second largest department store in North America. He continued his career in human resources with Gimbels Department Stores in the 1980s. He then joined The Limited, Inc. during a game changing time when the company was transforming apparel specialty retailing. Known for his expert insights and straightforward assessments on industry trends and talent issues, he is quoted regularly in publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Women’s Wear Daily. He has appeared on CNBC and Bloomberg TV, and has made presentations at the WWD CEO Summit and the Columbia University Graduate School of Business.
In addition to his passion for retail, Kirk is a voracious fan of the progressive rock genre and his office walls are lined with the album covers of prog-rock bands of the ’70s. A one-time rock drummer with hair past his shoulders, Kirk was recently able to fulfill a bucket list dream when he met with his prog-rock idol, Steven Wilson and sat through an intimate studio playback session of Steven’s new album. He walked out thinking he had hair again. No one has told him otherwise.
2015 Update: Kirk became the Executive Producer for an album featuring members of Steven’s band and other “rock-gods” in Kirk’s world. The album – Jane Getter Premonition – was released worldwide on October 2, 2015. Kirk still thinks he is a cool guy and we are not going to burst his bubble.