LONDON, United Kingdom – BoF compiles the most important professional moves of the week.
Bill Blass Taps Benz Creative Director
After taking a few seasons off from his eponymous line, Chris Benz has been tapped as the new creative director of Bill Blass, effective immediately. This is the first strategic move under the direction of newly appointed president and chief operating officer Stuart Goldblatt, who joined the American brand last month. Reporting directly to Goldblatt, Benz will be the first design head in two years, as the house has been without a permanent creative director since Jeffrey Monteiro was let go in 2012. Prior to joining Bill Blass, Benz worked as a designer at Marc Jacobs, and later at J.Crew, before launching his namesake line in 2007. Benz was recognised with the Emerging Designer Award from the CFDA in 2004. His first collection for Bill Blass will be Spring 2016.
Tomas Maier Names CEO
Luxury brand Tomas Maier has recruited Giuseppe Giovannetti to become the brand’s new chief executive, succeeding Daniela Ott, who is stepping down for personal reasons. According to Kering, Ott succeeded in “starting up” the business and integrating it into the Kering group, which took a significant stake in the New York-based label last November. Giovanetti, however, will take the brand forward and “pursue the building and expansion of the Tomas Maier brand,” while reporting to Kering’s CEO of the luxury couture and leather division, Marco Bizzarri. Giovanetti, 45, is currently president of the Americas for Bottega Veneta. He joined the brand in 2001 when it was part of the Gucci Group and held a number of positions, including five years as its chief financial officer in the US, before his promotion in 2011 to president of the region.
Condé Nast Hires Fred Santarpia
Condé Nast has appointed Fred Santarpia as executive vice president and chief digital officer, a newly created role at the company. Santarpia, who leaves his role as general manager at music and entertainment company Vevo, will be responsible for expanding the reach of Condé Nast’s brands across mobile and digital platforms, strengthening its marketing and deepening the relationship the firm has with its audiences. “The success of the company’s digital video strategy is a testament to Fred’s leadership and the hard work of the digital team at CNÉ,” said Condé Nast president Robert A. Sauerberg. “With this appointment, we look to Fred to extend his strong digital vision to the rest of the company.” Prior to Vevo, Santarpia has also held senior level positions at Universal Music Group and Arthur Andersen.
André Leon Talley Exits Zappos
Online retailer Zappos will not be renewing André Leon Talley’s contract as artistic director. The iconic editor signed on with the Las Vegas-based company late last year, shortly after leaving his post as editor-at-large at American Vogue. At Zappos, Talley was tasked with overseeing editorial content, including fashion shoots, videos and trend picks, as well as organising interviews with people from his expansive network of designers and fashion personalities – a strategy that was aimed to elevate the site’s image, although it is believed that the editor’s coverage and picks were not driving sales. Talley’s other post as editor-at-large of Numéro Russia was equally short lived, as he resigned from the position this March.
Galeries Lafayette Appoints CEO for China
French department store Galeries Lafayette has named Paul Burke as its first chief executive officer for China. Burke, 52, is a retail, consumer goods and department stores specialist, with 25 years of international experience in these sectors. He joins Galeries Lafayette from Lane Crawford, Hong Kong’s upscale retailer, where he was advisor to the CEO. In his new role, Burke will be responsible for the management and development of the 40,000sqm Beijing flagship, which opened last year. He will also be in charge of supervising the group’s ongoing expansion in China, a joint venture with IT Limited, a fashion retailer specialist based in Hong Kong. Burke reports to Nicolas Houzé, CEO of Galeries Lafayette Group’s department store division, and to Sham Kar Wai, chairman of IT Limited.