Michelle Peluso ’93 Appointed To Nike Board Of Directors

June 1st, 201411:16 pm @


Michelle Peluso, CEO, Gilt Inc.

Michelle Peluso, CEO, Gilt Inc.

Michelle Peluso ’93 has been named to the Board of Directors of NIKE, Inc., the Beaverton, Oregon-based designer and distributor of athletic footwear, apparel, and accessories. “Michelle’s leadership experience in marketing, branding, innovation and digital media for global brands makes her an outstanding addition to our board,” said Philip Knight, NIKE co-founder and chairman, in announcing her appointment. “We look forward to her contributions to expand NIKE’s position as the world’s leading athletic brand and industry innovator.” Michelle’s appointment at NIKE is only the most recent remarkable achievement in a career already full of them. She is currently Chief Executive Officer of Gilt, (www.gilt.com), an innovative online shopping destination that provides its members with special access to designer labels at discounted prices. Prior to joining Gilt, Michelle served as Global Consumer Chief Marketing and Internet Officer at Citigroup and as CEO of Travelocity, the online travel company. Michelle became one of the youngest chief executive officers in American corporate history in the late 1990s as head of Site59.com, a travel website.

Michelle is a superstar in the field of e-commerce.  Both Forbes and The Wall Street Journal have singled her out as an executive to watch. While CEO of Travelocity, Michelle won the Stevie Award for Women in Business as best executive. “I love the intersection between technology and consumer,” she recently told The North American Pembrokian. “I love how transformative it all can be for the customer.  I love bold challenges and tackling the status quo, and I love the pace of digital and the constant ability to learn and get better.” With her appointment to NIKE’s board, three of its 13 directors are now women. Not surprisingly, for Michelle that is not enough. She expects further diversification in the boardrooms of top companies because “it’s just good business sense. All Fortune 500 companies want a broad audience of customers, so it just makes sense that the Boards and management teams represent that diversity of thinking.” ​Michelle credits her two years at Pembroke with profoundly influencing not only her career but her outlook on life. ​“I studied PPE at Pembroke from 1993 to 1995 and had a truly amazing two years.  Part of it was the rigorous academic environment and hearty debate with renowned and revered professors like [labor economist] Ken Mayhew and [philosopher] Martha Klein,” she says. “And part of the magic of Pembroke was also just seeing the night sky from a different side of the world – meeting new people, sharing new traditions, learning about the world from an entirely different point of view.  Pembroke taught me to be a better thinker; it enriched my curiosity about the world; it shaped my views on so many topics; and it brought me lifelong friends.” Michelle strongly recommends to anyone offered the opportunity to study abroad to seize it. “This is an increasingly interconnected world, and it’s simply not good enough to stay put where you are and view the world from one lens. Working and studying abroad is critical to being a worldly person – one who can appreciate and connect with different cultures and who critically values diversity.” Michelle grew up in upstate New York where her father ran an environmental engineering company.  After receiving her BA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in 1993, she came to Oxford on a prestigious Thouron scholarship.   She began her professional career as a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group. In 1998, she was one of 17 people chosen for a White House fellowship where she spent a year as a senior advisor to then-U.S. Secretary for Labor Alexis Herman.  Michelle now lives in New York City with her husband and two young children.

For years, Michelle has served as a trustee of The Pembroke College Foundation of North America.

For Michelle, it is as much the personal relationships she has developed throughout her life as it is the professional choices she has made that have been key to her success. She encourages a younger generation of Pembrokians now starting out not to think so much about compensation of job title, but to “focus most on surrounding yourself with exceptional people who will teach you, develop you, and shape you into a better leader. Then, be the kind of person that builds other people up. Spend your career supporting others.” Michelle practices what she preaches. At Gilt, she likes to spend as much time as she can moving from team to team within the company, gaining first-hand knowledge about the kind of work being done and the people who are doing it. In a recent profile in The New York Times, Michelle spoke about the productive culture she has tried to foster at Gilt. “I’ve always taken a slightly different approach with 360 reviews. We’ll share them with each other on the executive team, and I’ll start with mine – here is where I’m good, and here is where I’m not doing so well. I tell the whole company ‘Here is where I want your help.’ That makes it a bit safer for other people to do the same, and you can build trust.” At Travelocity Michelle was known for bringing in home-baked brownies for her co-workers.

Given her focus on the group over the individual, it should come as no surprise that Michelle’s personal definition of success is one not centered solely on the self but rather on communal accomplishment. For her, success means “spending my time in the best possible way to make myself and others better in ways that are inspiring.” From her time preparing for tutorials at Pembroke to her years working to create a better corporate culture for her employees and a better experience for her company’s customers, Michelle is certainly living her definition of success.