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In the latest shake-up at the top of a major fashion company, luxury specialty retailer Barneys named Daniella Vitale as its new chief executive on Thursday, as her predecessor Mark Lee steps down from the top job while taking on a new role as executive chairman.
Ms Vitale, who first joined the New York-based company in 2010, was elevated to the top job from her position as chief operating officer overseeing all of women’s merchandising, business development, digital strategy, and store operations. She had previously worked at Gucci, Giorgio Armani and Ferragamo USA.
Richard Perry – co-founder of Perry Capital, the US hedge fund that bought Barneys in 2012 – said that Mr Lee had recruited Ms Vitale and was his designated heir apparent, with a succession plan in place that would see her take the helm in 2017. Mr Perry, whose flagship fund was shuttered last year, added:
Mark has provided excellent leadership and vision in his time as CEO. Throughout that period, Mark has had Daniella run every part of Barneys. We have had a great partnership at the top of the organization and I am confident that our partnership, as well as Mark’s long-term commitment to Barneys and our Board of Directors, will continue. With Daniella serving as CEO, we have the best leadership in the industry.
Mr Lee, who joined as chief executive in 2010, said:
When I joined as CEO in 2010 I thought I would remain for four years. Six and a half years later it’s time for me to turn the day-to-day management over to Daniella who has long been my planned successor and is uniquely qualified to take the leadership reins. I will continue to support Richard Perry at the board level as I pursue other part time opportunities and passions in what I am characterizing as my retirement from
full-time luxury industry work.
The news of Mr Lee’s exit and Ms Vitale’s promotion comes hours after Ralph Lauren said that chief executive Stefan Larsson was leaving after less than two years in the top job following a clash with the company’s founder. And in the world of high fashion, Givenchy, the fashion house owned by LVMH, said its artistic director Riccardo Tisci was departing.