© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri poses at the LACMA Art + Film Gala in Los Angeles, California, U.S. November 6, 2021. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo
By Mimosa Spencer
(Reuters) – Kering has named chief executive Jean-Francois Palus as CEO and chairman of Gucci for a transition period, as part of a management reshuffle at the top of the French luxury goods group aimed at giving back momentum to its flagship brand.
Marco Bizzarri, who has run Gucci since 2015, will leave the company on September 23, the French owner of the Italian brand has announced.
“Jean-François has been my right arm and a daily training partner for several decades. He will now focus his energy on getting our greatest asset into top shape.” Kering (EPA:) Chairman and CEO Francois-Henri Pinault said in a statement Tuesday.
Gucci, whose sales have lagged rivals such as Louis Vuitton and Hermès in recent quarters, has already begun to change its artistic direction with the appointment this year of Sabato De Sarno, a relatively unknown designer, to the post. of creative director.
Bizzarri was the architect of Gucci’s meteoric growth in 2015-2019, but the brand failed to rebound as strongly as its rivals from the pandemic.
“Kering is in transition, as the relaunch of its mega-brand Gucci is still underway,” Bernstein analyst Luca Solca said, noting that Bizzarri’s departure seemed timely to provide visibility ahead of Kering’s first fashion show. From Sarno to Milan in September.
HSBC in late June lowered its rating on the French group’s shares not to buy them, saying there was no sign of improvement yet at Gucci, with the brand’s performance “disappointing quarter after quarter, at lags behind its peers in the luxury sector”.
“Some investors are clearly calling for a change in CEO at Gucci even if it leads to a brand reset with reduced margins before a rebound is seen,” HSBC said at the time.
As part of the changes, Francesca Bellettini, who has run fast-growing fashion brand Yves Saint Laurent since 2013, has been named Kering’s deputy managing director in charge of brand development.
Jean-Marc Duplaix, the group’s chief financial officer, has also been appointed deputy general manager of Kering in charge of operations and finance.