The new company established by Kering to manage the eyewear lines of its 22 fashion, sports and lifestyle brands will make a start on July 1 with nine of them and with a team of experienced professionals, many of whom come from Safilo.
Four of the nine Kering brands - Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and McQ - have been licensed to Safilo. The others are Puma, whose license with Charmant is about to expire; Stella McCartney, previously licensed to Luxottica; and Boucheron, formerly licensed to Gold & Wood.
A couple of other brands owned by Kering are expected to launch their first eyewear lines in 2016 through Kering Eyewear. As previously reported, Safilo will continue to license Kering's biggest luxury brand, Gucci, until the end of 2016. Safilo will produce Gucci's spectacles for another four years, but after that date, the design, development and sales will be transferred to Kering Eyewear.
The schedule calls for the release by Kering Eyewear of a preview of the first nine collections this coming summer and the recruitment of a sales force during the third quarter. The sales reps - about 20 of them in Italy - will collect orders for products that will start to be shipped in the fourth quarter.
Kering Eyewear has already started to set up direct sales subsidiaries for the five major European countries and others in the Americas and Asia.
The Italian operation is led by Stefania Gambino, who had been working for Safilo since April 2011 as international sales director of its top luxury division, then as sales director for Italy, and then as Italian country manager. She had spent a couple of years prior to that at Luxottica.
The French operation of the company will be run by Valérie Abbou. She worked for more than 15 years at Marcolin, most recently running its French subsidiary. Charles de Fleurieu, who has been in charge of mergers and acquisitions at the Kering group, will run Kering Eyewear Japan.
The global sales network will be run by Massimo Renon, who has worked for Luxottica and Safilo in key positions for many years. He had been in charge of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Safilo since September 2012. Prior to that, he had spent over ten years at Luxottica and then worked as head of sales for Ferrari.
Cécile Mériguet, who has been in charge of marketing for Safilo's proprietary brands in the EMEA region since January 2013, is handling marketing and communication at Kering Eyewear. She had worked for Luxottica between 2001 and 2004 as international licensing brand manager.
Massimo Zuccarelli, the former head of product development at Safilo, is now acting as creative director for Kering Eyewear. He and the other top managers will all report to Roberto Vedovotto, who left as chief executive of Safilo at the end of 2013, the new chief executive of Kering Eyewear. The 49-year-old manager, who was involved in the banking and investment sector prior to Safilo, working in senior positions for Morgan Stanley and Lehman Brothers, has also been made a member of the executive committee of the Kering group.