Europe Sees Big C-suite Reshuffle

WWD – 22 marzo 2022 – Pagina 1,15 –

Kering has named Gianfilippo Testa CEO of Alexander McQueen, succeeding Emmanuel Gintzburger, who is leaving to take the helm of Versace.

LONDON — Kering and Capri Holdings on Monday named new chief executive officers at Alexander McQueen and Versace in a game of musical chairs that sees a new generation of fashion managers crisscross Europe — and flex their muscles in different ways. Kering named Gucci executive Gianfilippo Testa CEO of Alexander McQueen. He’ll succeed Emmanuel Gintzburger, who is leaving McQueen to become CEO of Versace. At Versace, Gintzburger will succeed Jonathan Akeroyd, who joined Burberry officially last week, replacing Marco Gobbetti, who moved into the C-suite at Salvatore Ferragamo earlier this year. The flurry of changes comes in the wake of the pandemic as the brands look for a refresh, and the executives themselves seek new challenges after so much COVID- 19-related crisis management. The new jobs not only offer each manager a fresh start, but also the opportunity to work in a new region, and within a different brand culture. Testa, president of EMEA and vice president global retail at Gucci, is moving to the smaller, London-based McQueen, which has been shifting its accessories business into high gear and expanding its international retail network. Gintzburger, meanwhile, will swap the French luxury group Kering, McQueen’s parent, for the American, publicly listed giant Capri Holdings, owner of the Milanbased Versace. He’ll report to John Idol, chairman and CEO of Capri. Idol said Gintzburger “has a proven track record of building global fashion luxury houses. We believe that Emmanuel’s vision for Versace will help us achieve our ambitions for the future. Versace already has strong momentum, and Emmanuel’s leadership will help us further accelerate our plans and strengthen our strategic initiatives.” Donatella Versace, the brand’s chief creative officer, said: “I am delighted Emmanuel has joined the Versace family; he has an amazing background in luxury. As soon as I met him, I knew he was the perfect partner to help us take Versace to even greater heights.” At Versace, Gintzburger will be picking up the mantle left by Akeroyd, who joined Versace in 2016. Before that, Akeroyd spent 12 years at Alexander McQueen. Indeed, it seems that McQueen is fast-becoming a training ground for Versace managers. Giovanna Brambilla, partner at Milan-based executive search firm Value Search, said she sees a common thread between McQueen and Versace, as well as “creative affinities, they are two researchdriven brands that have a clear identity.” Gintzburger helped to broaden, and deepen, the accessories category at McQueen, and Brambilla believes he could further develop that division at Versace. He also expanded McQueen’s directly operated retail network, which is something he could do at Versace, too. “Also, we just saw the efforts made by McQueen in sustainability, with the latest fashion show in New York, with recycled materials to create the colorful mushrooms. Sustainability could become an additional driver at Versace,” Brambilla added. Another market source described Gintzburger as having a “quick intelligence.” He’s certainly been moving at speed: Gintzburger joined McQueen in 2016 from Yves Saint Laurent, where he was worldwide retail and wholesale director. Kering tasked Gintzburger with pursuing the brand’s global expansion and accelerating its organic growth — and that’s just what he’s been doing. He set an ambitious strategy to double the retail network to more than 130 units in the medium term, and didn’t let the pandemic stop him. Worldwide, he oversaw the opening of scores of new stores, and the refurbishment of older ones, during COVID-19. “With the world going into lockdown and travel being restricted, we felt it was important to continue our retail opening strategy,” Gintzburger told WWD in a 2021 interview. “And we had already planned an important expansion of our retail network in most of the key cities worldwide where we a have a strong potential to recruit local, or regional, clientele.” Gintzburger said opening stores was “a way for us to connect with our local communities in their own cities and countries. Of course, we placed a significant emphasis on digital storytelling, but people also need a sense of community, calm and purpose. The physical experience in the store can definitely bring positive emotions,” he said. As reported, Alexander McQueen’s creative director Sarah Burton took charge of the concept herself, designing the stores in collaboration with the architect Smiljan Radić, and giving them the clutter-free feel of an art gallery, with high ceilings and dramatic, arty fixtures. “I am grateful to François-Henri Pinault, and Kering, for their support and trust over the past 12 years,” Gintzburger said Monday. “I thank Sarah Burton and her incredible creative vision. I will always keep this extraordinary house and its team in my heart.” The moves Gintzburger made at McQueen could almost serve as a blueprint for the strategy Idol has laid out for Versace under Capri. The goal is to turn the Italian fashion house into a true luxury brand by boosting its accessories offering and opening more stores. Pre-pandemic, Idol said Capri aimed to grow Versace into $2 billion in yearly revenues, including opening 300 stores worldwide, renovating others, expanding accessories and footwear to about 60 percent of overall sales, and growing the digital business. So far, the plan appears to be working, as Versace posted a 29 percent increase in third quarter revenue to $251 million with operating income of $32 million. “We’re seeing very strong AUR growth at Versace, and that’s really driven by the accessories business and the fullprice selling and sell-throughs that are happening in that business,” he said. “So AUR growth is quite significant at Versace, and it’s really driven by those two things. Accessories and much, much better fullprice sell-throughs because we’re not over on ready-to-wear, which always has higher markdown rates,” Idol said last month. Kering confirmed that Testa will take up the McQueen CEO role in May, and report to François-Henri Pinault. Testa is an Italian national who began his career at Tag Heuer in 2002, and went on to hold a range of roles at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, specifically at Fendi in Italy, Japan and Hong Kong. He joined Kering in 2016 as Gucci president of Greater China, and since 2019 he has been president of EMEA and vice president global retail at Gucci. Kering said Testa’s mission at McQueen will be to “accelerate the expansion of the British luxury house to tap its full potential.” The Milan-based market source described Testa as a manager who is “very energetic, and transmits a strong positive energy. He has a clear vision of the business.”