While details are sketchy, and none of the parties involved are commenting, it is apparent that Elyse Kroll is no longer with ENK International, the company she founded and has run for more than 30 years.
Back in 2006, Kroll sold a controlling share of the company to the private equity investment company, Forstmann Little. Over the next several years, Kroll remained in control, along with Tom Nastos, who was appointed president in 2009.
However, founding partner Ted Forstmann died in 2011, and all of the corporate assets, including ENK, were put up for sale shortly thereafter. It had been rumored that Advanstar, the parent company of the MAGIC and Project shows, had been an aggressive suitor for ENK, whose trade show properties include Fashion Coterie, ENK New York and Vegas, Accessorie Circuit and others. That deal appears to have fallen through, at least for the moment.
Sources close to the company say that Kroll’s tenure ended last week after she could not come to agreement with the current company management about the terms of her separation. It was an unlikely end for a figure that has had such a large impact on the fashion business over so many years and, indeed, it may not be the end of the battle for her. She has a reputation as a relentless competitor with a strong passion for the business.
ENK has its roots in the men’s business. Kroll was hired as executive administrator of the Designers’ Collective in 1979. She eventually took control of that show, renamed it The Collective and launched other shows in the men’s, women’s and children’s businesses as well, including the Fashion Coterie. The Collective was eventually folded into what now is called ENK New York. In 2007, the company acquired the WSA show, which was at that time the premier show in the footwear business, attended by the entire industry. That show has declined in prominence in recent years and it has attempted to refocus in order to remain relevant.