December 13, 2011 2:55 pm

LVMH overhauls Rome management

LVMH, the French luxury goods conglomerate, is deploying two of its leading executives to spearhead key prestige brands in Rome after a management shake-up.

Michael Burke will become the chief executive of Bulgari, following LVMH’s partial acquisition of the label this year. The all-share deal in March was the largest in LVMH’s history and saw the company take a 51 per cent controlling stake in the family-owned watch and jewellery house in a deal worth €3.7bn.

Mr Burke comes to Bulgari after eight years at the helm of Fendi, where he reversed the ailing fortunes of the Rome fashion house by appointing Karl Lagerfeld as creative director and implementing a new integrated distribution model for its core fur and leather products.

He is widely admired within the sector for steering Fendi’s turnround from a debt-laden, family-owned enterprise to a highly profitable international luxury label with a multimillion-dollar annual revenue.

While Bulgari, like most of the luxury sector, has seen surging sales since the economic downturn, LVMH will be looking for Mr Burke to apply similar skills to those he displayed at Fendi once he takes up his new position in February 2012.

Alessandro Bogliolo, Bulgari’s current chief executive, will continue in that position for a period of transition, before taking over a new assignment within the LVMH Group.

Mr Burke will be replaced at Fendi by Pietro Beccari, currently LVMH’s executive vice-president of marketing and communications.

LVMH have said it will appoint a successor to Mr Beccari in the near future, following the announcements made on Monday.

While 2011 has been a good year for the luxury industry, with an average organic sales growth of 20 per cent within the sector, 2012 is predicted to see a more cautious outlook in the US and Europe. China and emerging markets are still expected to have high demand for luxury brands.

● French luxury group PPR announced on Tuesday that its chief financial officer, Jean-Francois Palus, is to become the new group managing director. Jean-Marc Duplaix, previously deputy chief financial officer at M6, the French media group, will replace Mr Palus from January 30 2012.

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