Just short of a year since Bruno Guillon’s exit as CEO, Mulberry has announced Thierry Andretta as his replacement. Investors form an orderly queue.
Andretta was welcomed into Mulberry as a Non-executive Director last June and tasked with “building a global luxury brand”, interim CEO Godfrey Davis said at the time. More recently, he has been engaged as a consultant to assist with reviewing the company’s international expansion, Mulberry said in a statement this morning.
Andretta’s position as Chief Executive Officer of the luxury label will come into effect from April 7. A veteran of luxury goods, Andretta brings with him a wealth of experience. He has held a number of senior roles at the crème de la crème of luxe brands, including Moschino, the Gucci group, LVMH fashion group and in the late 90’s, Celine - from which Mulberry poached its new Creative Director Johnny Coca (currently on garden leave and due to start creatively directing in July).
From 2009 – 2013, Andretta was Managing Director at high fashion house Lanvin, where he more than doubled revenue. During his tenure with the French label, Andretta made the leather good’s division of the business a strategic focus. His objective was to apply the level of distinction that Creative Director Albar Elbaz brought to Lanvin’s ready-to-wear collections, to accessories. Andretta was instrumental in the growth of Lanvin’s global footprint.
Andretta swiftly parted ways with the couture house, after disagreements over future developments, but practically stepped into a new position as CEO of luxury Italian jewellery brand Buccellati. There he concentrated on expanding its watch business as well as its presence worldwide, particularly in new markets such as the Middle East and Russia.
Share prices for the British brand fell 67% in the two years Guillon, a former Hermès director, was in charge. The departure of former Creative Director Emma Hill, attributed to “disagreements with management over creative and operational strategy” and having to cut profit forecasts twice, all in a year’s work for Guillon, did not look good either. After increasing the quality of leather, and subsequently the prices, of Mulberry bags, Guillon alienated the Somerset based label’s core customer. His efforts to turn Mulberry into a mini- Hermès didn’t work and he was swiftly asked to leave in March last year. Mulberry had been carefully searching for the “right person” since.
Commenting on his new job, the purveyor of luxury said: “I am delighted to become Chief Executive after nearly a year as a non-executive director. Mulberry is a truly authentic British brand with a unique manufacturing base in the UK. The brand has great international potential and I look forward to building the business with Godfrey, Johnny, the rest of the team and the Board.”
While recruitment for Mulberry’s new CEO took a long time, it has played out much in the way Davis planned. “We undertook an extensive search and concluded that Thierry was the outstanding CEO candidate” he commented.