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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gucci is set to depart as part of a leadership shake-up within Kering

Over the course of his career, Marco Bizzarri has established himself as one of the luxury industry’s most illustrious and esteemed executives. He was the architect behind the spectacular success of Gucci, the biggest fashion brand in the stable owned by the French corporation Kering, which also includes Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, and Saint Laurent. He was bald and aggressively dressed, and he was the man responsible for Gucci’s stratospheric success.

But on Tuesday, following a difficult year marked by falling sales and the unexpected resignation of Gucci’s veteran creative director Alessandro Michele, the fashion house’s parent group discreetly announced Mr. Bizzarri’s retirement from the company after eight years of serving as its CEO. Francois-Henri Pinault, the chairman and chief executive of Kering, is attempting to create a new chapter in the history of Gucci and the conglomerate. The revelation was hidden in the third paragraph of a letter that Kering issued that indicated a significant organisational shake-up.

The reorganisation of management comes on the heels of the company’s recent acquisition of the beauty brand Creed. This was the company’s first significant purchase after its decision in February to establish a distinct beauty business, which is yet another indication of Kering’s aspirations to reinvent itself.

And it comes in the aftermath of repeated reports that Mr. Pinault is in advanced discussions to purchase a controlling position in the Hollywood talent agency CAA under the banner of Artémis, his family investment firm, which is the principal stakeholder in Kering. Artémis is a family investment company. A representative for Mr. Pinault and Artémis did not want to comment on those reports, therefore their spokesperson did not.

A dominating industry narrative has emerged that casts the conglomerate Kering as an archrival to LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which is the biggest company operating in the luxury market. This is due to Kering’s buzzy brands and outsize cultural impact. However, LVMH’s more than seventy-five luxury brands give it a significant advantage over Kering’s fourteen labels in terms of both sales revenue and market capitalization.

Kering has recently had some setbacks. Its stock performance has lagged behind that of important competitors like Hermes and LVMH, and the business has been roiled by a number of scandals and controversies that have occurred inside some of the largest Kering fashion brands.

After being accused of inciting paedophilia in its advertising campaigns the previous autumn, Balenciaga saw a stunning fall from grace; the business is still attempting to restore momentum. Balenciaga was once the trendiest brand on the fashion calendar. Then there were the ongoing problems at Gucci, which was responsible for two-thirds of Kering’s revenues in 2021 and which, when under the leadership of Mr. Michele, was highly praised for ushering in a new age of magpie inclusion and passion in the fashion industry.

However, Mr. Michele, who was relatively unknown in the fashion industry until he was selected by Mr. Bizzarri to oversee the business, resigned in November after having a disagreement with management about the direction in which Gucci should be headed. Sabato De Sarno, who will exhibit his first collection at Milan Fashion Week in September, has been appointed to take his position as the designer.

Up until this point, the official line said that Mr Bizzarri, who oversaw the expansion of Gucci sales to over ten billion euros from €3.89 billion, will continue to shepherd the house into its new period. However, this is not the case.

Instead, Jean-Francois Palus, the executive chairman of the Kering group, will take up the position in September and serve in that capacity until a replacement is selected. This transition will take place.

Jonathan James
Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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