Ted English, BA’76

For Ted English, it’s not a stretch to say that his freshman-year co-op as a buyer’s trainee at Filene’s Basement shaped the course of his entire career. “Quite frankly, I’ve had a 40-year career in the retail business because of it,” he says.

English stayed at Filene’s Basement on co-op throughout his entire time at Northeastern, working his way all the way up to head buyer for the men’s and women’s accessories departments, where he managed a multimillion dollar budget. English says that combining work with college gave him a dual advantage that served him well.

“On co-op I learned how to apply what I learned in school to the business world, and also how to apply what I learned in the business world to school.”

He parlayed that experience into a job at TJX, the apparel and home fashions company, and rose within the company’s ranks to become its president and CEO. During English’s five-year tenure at the helm, TJX opened 900 new stores and increased revenues by $6 billion. In 2006 English took on a new challenge, as CEO of Bob’s Discount Furniture, a growing chain of stores located throughout the Northeast.

“Certainly the co-op experience as well as the educational experience at Northeastern gave me the background and the base that I needed to progress from a buyer’s responsibility to a CEO’s responsibility,” he says.

English remains steadfastly committed to Northeastern’s educational mission. He is a member of the Board of Trustees and in 2005 established the English Scholars Program as part of the Torch Scholars Program, which provides full-tuition scholarships for promising inner-city students.

“The breadth of both the academic and occupational support that Northeastern provides is a huge advantage,” says English. “There isn’t any other school that exposes students to such a tremendous amount of real world experience before graduation.”