Thomas Ott, B.S.’88
By Lauren Servideo
William Shakespeare wrote, “The apparel oft proclaims the man.” Nobody understands this concept better than Tom Ott, senior vice president of Menswear, Home and Gifts at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Ott works with his team to locate the best products available and devise novel ways to appeal to customers.
In an economy that has made people thriftier and less indulgent, Ott’s team has succeeded: Total sales were up 7.3 percent in 2011, with menswear listed in the top-performing product categories.
“Camaraderie and teamwork are very important,” Ott says. “At the end of the day, I can’t do everything. It’s about my group and what they can do.”
Ott’s teamwork skills date to his days as captain of the lacrosse team at Albany, where he majored in business administration and minored in history. “I had a great educational and athletic experience. In particular, some of the finance and marketing classes taught me to think about the business world and their application in real life,” says Ott, who has instilled his love of lacrosse in each of his four daughters.
He is also setting an example for them by supporting both the School of Business and the lacrosse team. “I think it’s very important to give back,” notes Ott.