Gucci Hires Deputy CEO to Bolster Turnaround Efforts

Kering flagship Gucci has hired Stefano Cantino, a veteran communications executive from Louis Vuitton, to the newly created role of deputy CEO, bolstering its efforts to reignite growth.

Before joining Vuitton, Cantino rose through the ranks at Prada, becoming a top communications officer and then chief executive for the French market. At Vuitton, he oversaw the now €20 billion-a-year brand’s sprawling communications apparatus, including blockbuster fashion week spectacles such as Pharrell Williams debut on Paris’ Pont Neuf and elaborate museum-style exhibitions.

The appointment comes at a pivotal moment for Gucci as Kering attempts to revamp the brand’s image, collections and organization in a bid to get things back on track after a precipitous sales decline.

Under new leadership — including creative director Sabato de Sarno, CEO Jean-François Palus (Kering chairman François-Henri Pinault’s most trusted deputy) and Kering deputy CEO Francesca Bellettini — the brand is angling for a more high-end, timeless image, but will need to balance that ambition with efforts to attract attention and get customers excited about Gucci again.

Sales fell by around 20 percent in the first quarter, the group said in an unscheduled trading update last month, further knocking investor confidence in the brand’s turnaround program.

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Can Gucci’s Turnaround Plan Still Work?

This week, Kering flagged sales were down 20 percent at its flagship brand, knocking confidence in the group’s turnaround strategy. ‘A more drastic solution is required,’ one analyst wrote.