On the heels of Bottega Veneta's Spring/Summer 2017 runway show last week, which marked the Italian design house's 50th anniversary, French luxury conglomerate Kering - parent to Gucci, YSL, and Balenciaga, among others - announced that ex-Hugo Boss Chief Executive Claus-Dietrich Lahrs will be the new head of its Bottega Veneta brand.
Just prior to confirming Lahrs's appointment, Kering announced the appointment of Carlo Alberto Beretta - who until today was in the role of CEO of Bottega Veneta - in the newly created position of chief client & marketing officer of the Group, effective October 4, 2016. He will report directly to François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of Kering, and will remain a member of Kering’s executive committee. According to a statement from Kering: "In an increasingly competitive business environment, the focus on customers has become critical to the success of luxury brands. Providing a rewarding and consistent experience across all channels, together with an enhanced relationship with the clients themselves, is required to optimise their satisfaction and build loyalty."
Pinault thereafter confirmed Lahrs' appointment saying: “We are delighted to welcome Claus-Dietrich Lahrs to Bottega Veneta and to Kering. His outstanding experience and extensive knowledge of the luxury market will be crucial in the management of the exceptional maison that Bottega Veneta is. I am confident he will build on what has been accomplished so far within the house and accelerate its development.”
Lahrs, who resigned from his position at Hugo Boss in February after eight years at the German fashion brand, joins Bottega Veneta at a difficult time - for both brands. The Italian brand has its seen sales drop continuously in the past year, partly due to weaker demand from Chinese buyers, its No.1 customer base. His Bottega Veneta appointment "is good news for the brand," the source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
In addition to losing Lahrs, Hugo Boss, whose recent expansion attempts have led to a series of profit warnings and a 50 percent plunge in the shares over the past year, announced in April that Christoph Auhagen, its Chief Brand Officer, would be making his exit, as well.
Lahrs’s successor at Hugo Boss – Mark Langer, who was promoted to the CEO role from his chief finance position in May – will have to contend with weakening sales in the U.S. and China, which prompted the clothier to forecast a low double-digit percentage decline in full-year Ebitda in February. Hugo Boss also won’t reach its goal of an adjusted operating margin of 25 percent. The revision was the second in less than six months for the German fashion label, best known for men’s apparel such as suits and jackets.
Speaking of his appointment this spring, Langer was confident: "Due to my long-standing work for Hugo Boss, I have a clear understanding of the company's potential and know what we need to do to get it back on track for profitable and sustainable growth."