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- 7 Sep 2010
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Executive Appointments Moving Luxury Forward

The guide to who’s being hired, why others have departed and how it affects business

In the past week, reliable sources have suggested that at least two luxury industry figures are about to jump ship for a mass market brand. But while waiting for official confirmation of Felipe Oliveira Baptista’s appointment as creative director at Lacoste (to finally replace Christophe Lemaire who was famously tapped earlier this year by Hermès to replace Jean Paul Gaultier) and for Volkswagen to elaborate on their alleged plans to hire Porsche manager Klaus-Gerhard Wolpert as the carmaker’s chief product strategist, there are a few recent executive recruitments which are not only certain – they are also important enough to merit some further exploration.


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Herve Humler, president & COO, the Ritz-Carlton

As a 35-year veteran of the Ritz-Carlton and one of the original founders who has held many high ranking positions over the decades, Herve Humler is not really expected to shake things up too much. In fact, his promotion is seen as a way to guarantee a very stable transition for the more than 30 global hotel and resort openings that are currently scheduled for the brand. In addition to his responsibilities for the 76 existing Ritz properties in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean, Humler will also oversee the Bulgari Hotels & Resorts division. In his new role, he reports to Robert J. McCarthy, Marriott International Group President, and replaces Simon F. Cooper, who was recently named President and MD of the Asia Pacific division of Ritz-Carlton’s parent company, Marriott International.

Zawya
Canadian Business
Yahoo Finance


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Geoffroy de la Bourdonnaye, CEO, Chloé

The editor of WWD put it rather succinctly when he wrote, “Geoffroy de la Bourdonnaye… faces the challenge of reigniting the French brand’s once explosive growth.” This former CEO of the iconic London department store Liberty (which he is credited with making profitable in less than 3 years) also has some big shoes to fill. His predecessor at Chloé, Ralph Toledano, is hugely popular, prolific and has been in charge of the brand since two of Chloé’s biggest names were designing: Stella McCartney and Phoebe Philo. Since Philo though, Chloé has languished under two subsequent creative directors (appointed by Toledano), even if it has remained in the black. When he takes over, De la Bourdonnaye will be able to elicit insight from the diverse management experience he garnered in the past at LVMH’s Christian Lacroix, Euro Disney, PepsiCo and L’Oréal. He will report to Marty Wikstrom, CEO of the fashion and accessories portfolio of Richemont, where Chloé sits alongside Azzedine Alaïa, Alfred Dunhill, Lancel and Shanghai Tang.

AFP
WWD
New York Post


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Mark Lee, CEO, Barney’s New York

Barney’s New York has been without a CEO for more than two years since the resignation of Howard Socol. During that time it had been plagued with predictions of bankruptcy, recurring rumours of being sold off, a recessionary market and a host of others uncertainties. Most recently, it was reported that Barney’s current owner, Istithmar, a private equity arm of the troubled Dubai World conglomerate, may be instructed to sell off its assets (including Barney’s, presumably) in order to repay creditors. So the timing of Mark Lee’s appointment as the department store’s new CEO is very interesting. The pressure on Lee to turn Barney’s into a highly valued, money-making machine is much more than it would have been even a couple months ago when Istithmar’s assets were protected from by a debt repayment plan. As for Lee, he presided over Gucci from 2004 to 2008 until a slump in sales prompted a major management shuffle there. Prior to that, he was CEO of Yves Saint Laurent and an executive at Giorgio Armani and Jil Sander. Will he be charmed for having started his career at another famous department store (Saks Fifth Avenue) all those years ago and for having hedged his bets these past few years while waiting for the right offer?

New York Times
Bloomberg BusinessWeek
Draper’s


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Véronique Gautier, international general manager, Giorgio Armani Parfums

Véronique Gautier was chairman of Hermès Parfums’ supervisory board and managing director of its leather goods division until she was ushered in to replace Jean Paul Gaultier’s departing president Christophe Caillaud in 2008, a position she held until this July. Perhaps the timing was coincidental but it was around then that we learned that Jean Paul Gaultier would no longer be designing for Hermès. Some sources suggest that with the end of the Gaultier-Hermès artistic marriage, Ms. Gautier decided it was time to move on to greener pastures. Despite the larger-than-life brand she last worked for, Gautier has kept her profile somewhat under the radar outside of France. But her presence at Giorgio Armani Parfums certainly underscores the determination with which L’Oreal’s luxury products division aims to leverage even more out of their license with one of Italy’s living fashion legends.

WWD