Gucci, one of the world's most iconic luxury brands, is undergoing a major leadership change as its CEO Marco Bizzarri announces his departure after six years in charge. Bizzarri, who was instrumental in Gucci's remarkable growth and transformation under creative director Alessandro Michele, will be replaced by Jean-Francois Palus, the managing director of Kering, Gucci's parent company.
Palus will take on the role of Gucci's president and CEO for a transitional period, starting from September 23, when Bizzarri will officially leave the company. Palus, who has been working closely with Kering's chairman and CEO Francois-Henri Pinault for decades, will relocate to Milan and resign from Kering's board of directors.
The move is part of a wider management reshuffle at Kering, the French luxury conglomerate that owns brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, and Bottega Veneta. The group aims to restore momentum at Gucci, which has been lagging behind its rivals in terms of sales and profitability in recent quarters.
Gucci, which accounts for more than half of Kering's revenue and profit, has already begun to change its artistic direction with the appointment of Sabato De Sarno, a relatively unknown designer, as its new creative director in November 2020. De Sarno will present his debut collection for Gucci in Milan in September.
Bizzarri, who joined Gucci in 2015 from Bottega Veneta, was the architect of Gucci's stellar performance in 2015-2019, when the brand achieved double-digit growth and reached new heights of popularity and relevance with its eclectic and flamboyant aesthetic. However, the Covid-19 pandemic hit Gucci hard, as the brand suffered from store closures, travel restrictions, and changing consumer preferences.
"I want to thank Marco for his spectacular contribution to the success of Gucci and of Kering, and I wish him well in his future endeavors". Pinault said in a statement. "I am confident that the changes we are announcing will set Kering on a path to success and profitable growth over the long term".
As part of the changes, Francesca Bellettini, who has been the president and CEO of Yves Saint Laurent since 2013, has been named Kering's deputy CEO for brand development. She will oversee the growth of all Kering's deputy CEOP for brand development. She will oversee the growth of all Kering's brands and report directly to Pinault. Jean-Marc Duplaix, who has been Kering's chief financial officer since 2012, has also been appointed as Kering's deputy CEO for operations and finance. He will be responsible for enhancing efficiency and accountability across the group.