J. Byrne Murphy Makes ‘Le Deal’

J. Byrne Murphy, MBA, is an entrepreneur who has created several companies across Europe over the last fifteen years. His book, LE DEAL: How A Young American, In Business, In Love, And In Over His Head Brought A Multi-Billion Dollar Industry To Europe, is best described as treatise on entrepreneurship with equal parts adventure, global economics, and political intrigue.

What seemed like an easily transportable concept, Murphy set out to bring the American concept of designer fashion outlet malls to Europe. What he found is that “not all politics are local.” This memoir serves as a study that helps all entrepreneurs learn to recognize, “we don’t even know what we don’t know.”

“My research told me it (the concept of factory outlet malls) didn’t exist over there, said Murphy. “Eventually, I realized that I was full of naiveté like many Americans about life beyond our borders. But, what I hadn’t realized that “off-price retailing” really touches a raw nerve of the European landscape. And, each country is slightly different as to ‘how raw.’ But it was very raw.”

Le Deal is a true story of Murphy’s exploits in business in Europe. He abruptly moves to Paris with his wife and baby daughter in a quest to reignite his career and his fortunes. He quickly finds himself up against strange and powerful forces for which he is ill prepared.” He and his company will engage in a fierce mano a mano struggle with the French prime minister reaching up to the Supreme Court; encounter a ruthless political ambush in Germany by the soon-to-be chancellor; and face a threatening (“Is this the Mafia?”) would-be partner in Italy. There are also a series of charming encounters with members of the British Royal Family, including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, capped off by a near-royal embarrassment of epic proportions. Along the way, the author learns what he, and Americans in general, do and do not know about life beyond our borders.

The good news, eight years later, McArthur Glen Europe had opened thirteen specialty retail centers in five countries featuring 1,200 stores, over 300 brands, and was generating nearly one billion euros of sales from almost three million square feet. Approximately eight thousand jobs had been created. The company had restored abandoned factory buildings in England, added revitalization to small towns in France and Scotland, created leisure destinations in Wales and Austria and much more. The company was a success.

J. Byrne Murphy was one of the founders and deputy chief executive of McArthur Glen Europe. He spent eight years in an ultimately successful struggle to implant the concept of designer outlet centers in Europe. Mr. Murphy is an entrepreneur who has started up several European ventures, including the $225 million restoration of a fifteenth-century Medici palazzo in Florence, Italy, and its conversion into a private residence club. He is a cum laude graduate of Harvard College and received his MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. After living in Europe for twelve years, Mr. Murphy now resides in the Washington, D.C., area with his wife, Pamela, and their four daughters.

Surely Mr. Murphy has earned more than enough credits to receive his “Doctorate of Hard Knocks and Getting Up to Fight Another Day” Degree.

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