About Bob

Author Robert MillerHaving grown up in Paterson New Jersey where he was born in 1940, Bob Miller followed in his father’s footsteps after high school to pursue a career in accounting. He graduated from Rutgers University in Newark with a B.S Degree Cum Laude in 1960, married immediately thereafter and started his CPA career with an accounting firm that is now PricewaterhouseCoopers. In 1965 he left to join what was then the Manhattan Shirt Company where he remained until 1972 when Squibb Corporation, which had just acquired Charles of the Ritz, recruited him as its Vice President Finance.

He advanced rapidly up the Ritz corporate ladder becoming Senior Vice President Operations, President of the International Division, Executive Vice President and then in 1983, President and CEO. From 1975 through 1986, led by the International Division, Ritz registered increases in profitability averaging 23% annually, without any acquisitions. During his tenure at Ritz he worked directly with:  Yves Saint Laurent to develop and market Opium, one of the world’s most popular women’s fragrances, the men’s fragrance, Kouros, other YSL fragrances and the YSL Beauté (cosmetic) line; Gianni Versace to develop and market his first fragrances; Linda Evans and John Forsyth of the Twentieth Century Fox Dynasty television cast to develop and market Forever Krystle and Carrington, the first fragrances ever based on a television show.

From 1983 to 1986 he was also on the Board of Directors of industry organizations, serving in 1986 as Vice Chairman of the Cosmetics, Toiletries and Fragrance Association (CTFA) and President of the Fragrance Foundation. In 1985 he was the recipient of the New Jersey Businessman of the Year Award.
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Bob Miller and Opium

Yves Saint Laurent provided the creativity for Opium, one of the world’s most famous and most successful women’s fragrances. But behind that creativity one person provided the driving force to overcome the obstacles placed in its path and bring it to market. That person was Bob Miller.

Here is an excerpt from Woman’s Wear Daily, Friday May 13, 1983, shortly after Miller became president and CEO of Charles of the Ritz in which he is referred to as “Mr. Opium.”

Miller, who was the controller at Manhattan Industries, joined Ritz as vice president of finance. He was subsequently named president of the international division, and it was in this post that his name became synonymous with Opium. During a tense meeting in New York in 1977, Miller put his job on the line in a successful bid to convince worried executives to go ahead and launch the fragrance with its controversial name and concept intact, according to sources who were at the meeting.

“Miller saw that it was a great fashion idea because it had Yves name on it,” said one participant. “No one else understood that.”

“He is the only person I ever met who came from a financial background and has a fashion sense. Someone who can understand marketing.”