Brioni names Fabrizio Malverdi CEO
Italian gentleman’s tailoring specialist Brioni – the brand that has dressed James Bond and Oscars winners - has named Fabrizio Malverdi to be its new CEO, turning to a highly experienced fellow Italian at a complicated moment for the historic house.
Malverdi will report Jean-François Palus, Kering’s Group managing director. He takes up his new position on April 18.
Malverdi replaces Gianluca Flore, who left the group in February 2017, after barely two years in charge. The new CEO arrives at a delicate time for Brioni, which does not currently have an artistic director. In a surprise move, in spring 2016, Brioni hired Justin O’Shea – a one-time Australian truck driver who later became a buyer for e-tailer MyTheresa, as its global fashion director. However, after an ad campaign that featured Metallica – not exactly the Brioni upper-echelon businessman target - and the installation of a Gothic Heavy Metal typeface for its logo, O’Shea was fired abruptly after six months in October. Reportedly, in the same week that Kering CEO François-Henri Pinault was surprised to discover a coffin in the window of Brioni’s rue St Honoré boutique. Brioni’s last runway show was an outing, rather bizarrely, staged during Paris haute couture season in July last year.
“As CEO of Brioni, his (Malverdi) mission will be to accelerate the international expansion of one of the most prestigious houses in the high-end menswear market, which follows in the long tradition of Italian tailors,” Kering said in its release, suggesting he might refocus on the sophisticated classicism of O’Shea’s predecessor Irishman Brendan Mullane. Malverdi’s first task will be to find a new designer.
Brioni opened its first store on via Barberini in Rome in 1945, and staged the first men’s runway show in Florence in 1952. Its nerve center, however, is in Penne, a small city in the Abruzzi region, where its plant of skilled artisan tailors produce its super fine menswear. Everyone from Clark Gable and Pierce Brosnan (in Casino Royale) to Denzel Washington and Casey Affleck (when accepting his Best Actor Academy Award last month) have worn Brioni.
Malverdi joins Brioni from UK underwear brand Agent Provocateur, which was acquired on March 2 by Sports Direct, a company controlled by Mike Ashley, the owner of Newcastle United FC. Prior to that position in London, Malverdi held several positons with Kering’s great rival, LVMH. In 2006, Malverdi was named CEO of John Galliano; two years later he was appointed president and CEO of Givenchy in 2008, and in 2011 was named managing director of Dior Homme. All three of them part of the LVLH empire.
Italian-born Malverdi, a graduate in management from Bologna University, also speaks French, English and German. In a busy career, Malverdi also did stints at Vivienne Westwood, Martin Margiela, Mariella Burani, Calvin Klein and Mila Schon among others.
The world’s second-largest luxury group, Kering also controls such stellar brands as Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Christopher Kane, Stella McCartney, Tomas Maier, Boucheron, Dodo, Girard-Perregaux, Pomellato, Qeelin and Ulysse Nardin; plus, a series of sport labels - Puma, Volcom and Cobra. In 2016, Kering scored group revenue of €12.385 billion, in a global prestige products global empire boasting 40,000 employees.
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