Kimmel ran the apparel division of W. R. Grace & Company when it diversified into the fashion world in the early seventies. As Grace sought to streamline its operations, Kimmel bought the fashion business and incorporated it as Jones Apparel Group. Though he struggled through much of the eighties, Kimmel was able to orchestrate a massive turnaround for the company by delivering a line of affordable, yet professional and upscale line of women’s clothing with designer Rena Rowan. He further solidified the future of the firm by securing licensing agreements with Ralph Lauren and by acquiring several niche retailers including Nine West. The company which was on the brink of bankruptcy in the early eighties was generating over $4 billion in revenues by the end of the century.