Businesswoman. In 1998 Bowles began serving as chair and chief executive officer (CEO) of Springs Industries, whose corporate headquarters are in Fort Mill. Born in Fort Mill on October 16, 1947, she was the first of eight children of H. William Close and Anne Kingsley Springs. A direct descendent of the textile manufacturing pioneers Samuel Elliott White and Leroy Springs, Bowles is the fifth generation to run Springs Industries. As a CEO, Bowles is regularly ranked among the top women executives in the country.
Bowles earned a B.A. in economics from Wellesley College in 1969 and an M.B.A. from Columbia University. Her first employment was in New York, where she worked as a statistician for Morgan Stanley & Co. In 1971 she married Erskine B. Bowles, a North Carolinian she had met at Morgan Stanley. They moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1972, where he built an investment bank and they raised their three children. Erskine Bowles would go on to serve as White House chief of staff during the presidential administration of William Clinton.
Prior to becoming CEO, Crandall Bowles was a financial analyst for Springs Industries and executive vice president and later president of Springs Company, the Close family’s investment management arm. According to Business Week, “For a decade, she ran the $700 million Close family fortune, and she still leads her mother and seven siblings in overseeing the real estate, insurance, and rail- road holdings that complement a controlling stake in . . . Springs.” She later received more extensive training by serving posts in corporate planning, textile manufacturing, and bath products for Springs Industries before becoming its president and chief operating officer in 1997.
Barker, Robert, Richard S. Dunham, and Nicole Harris. “Just Which One Is the ‘Other’ Bowles?” Business Week 3532 (June 23, 1997): 131–33.