Former pole-vaulter Matthew K. McCauley (BA ’97), is no stranger to achieving great heights. A four-year all-conference athletic scholar at BYU, McCauley is the new president of Gymboree, an international chain of children’s clothing and accessories stores. “I never really planned to go into the retail business,” says McCauley, who has an American studies degree with a minor in business. But the retail career began early with a campus interview with Payless ShoeSource.
He worked for Payless and Gap, and Gymboree became interested in him. “Gymboree wanted me to work for them even though they were losing money. I thought, ‘I’ll go there and be laid off in six months.’ Then the opportunity presented itself to turn the company around.” In managerial and vice-presidential roles, McCauley applied his strategic thinking and was instrumental in putting Gymboree back in the black. Then in June 2005, after four years with the company, he was promoted to president.
To keep ideas fresh McCauley always seeks feedback. “Lauren, my five-year-old, has strong opinions about what she wants to wear, and my wife freely expresses her ideas—I pay attention to that,” McCauley says. He also heads a strategic/creative team at work. “I don’t believe in the mentality of ‘That is the way we have always done it.’ I’m driven by improving things.”
McCauley credits his experience at BYU for helping him learn how to balance life and setting priorities. Besides being president of a more-than-$500-million company at age 32, he’s also a new bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ.