Translated by
Nicola Mira
Dec 16, 2019
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Renzo Rosso taps Massimo Piombini to lead Diesel

Translated by
Nicola Mira
Dec 16, 2019

Massimo Piombini is going back to Italy. After three years in charge of Balmain, Piombini, who previously also worked at Valentino, will take over as the new CEO of Diesel in February 2020, and will be based at the label’s headquarters in Breganze, in the Veneto region.

Massimo Piombini - FNW

The manager’s new destination, one that is a sizeable challenge, has been revealed only a few days after the official announcement of his departure from the French label, which will be next led by Jean-Jacques Guével.

At Balmain, Piombini had to foster the growth of a booming label, owned by Qatari investment fund Mayhoola and driven by star Creative Director Olivier Rousteing. His mission will be entirely different at Italian label Diesel, renowned for its denim products.

In the last two years in fact, Renzo Rosso, founder and owner of Diesel via the OTB fashion group, has decided to overhaul the Italian label’s business model, helped by group CEO Ubaldo Minelli, to whom Piombini will report in his new role.

“Diesel is a unique brand, representing self-expression, creativity and alternative energy. An iconic label that has transformed the industry with its lifestyle approach, pioneering products and revolutionary advertising. I recently brought [Diesel] back to its roots, something which is already producing positive results. I want Massimo to fuel [Diesel’s] engine and take the label where it merits to be,” said Renzo Rosso in a press release.

After Diesel’s former Creative Director Nicola Formichetti left, the label’s prevalent approach is based on collaborations with emerging designers like Glenn Marten and A-Cold-Wall. Yet Diesel, the biggest label owned by the OTB group (alongside Viktor & Rolf, Maison Margiela and Marni), is going through a mid-life crisis. Last year, its sales fell by 19%, down to €810 million. This downturn, together with the difficulties faced by Diesel’s US subsidiary, which filed for receivership, led to an in-depth restructuring and the departure of former CEO Marco Agnolin last March.

Piombini is therefore faced with a remarkable challenge. Relying on the Red Tag external collaborations project as a foundation, he will have to re-energise a label which was once worth an annual revenue of €1.1 billion. Diesel’s other main assets are its 5,000 employees and 700 monobrand stores worldwide.

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