Bruno Magli SpA has tapped industry veteran Patricia Malone to run Bruno Magli USA.
Malone, who will take the reins on Aug. 22, has worked as a retail consultant since 2008, following a string of high-profile jobs.
In the last few years, Malone has consulted on projects for Coach Inc., Casadei, Diego Dolcini and Narciso Rodriguez. Before that, she served as U.S. president and chief operating officer of Christian Dior from 2006 to 2007, following a long career at Gucci. From 1997 to 2005, Malone was president and chief executive officer of Gucci America, directing the wholesale and retail businesses in North and South America. She began working at the Italian house in 1985, and then was merchandise manager at Fendi USA before returning to Gucci in 1994.
Now, taking the U.S. helm at Bruno Magli, Malone will have the opportunity to revamp and grow a 76-year-old company.
“I have known Pat for several years. She has the experience to launch a collection, she has the connections and she knows how to relaunch a brand,” Bruno Magli global ceo Armin Mueller told WWD.
“As the ceo of Gucci and Dior, she has a tremendous amount of experience in shoes and accessories, and that’s the core of our business,” he offered, adding that Malone will really have control over the entire Americas region for the brand.
Part of her mandate will include relaunching the women’s collection, as well as reestablishing the company’s business in New York. Mueller said the footwear and accessories firm is in the process of opening a new showroom and office in New York near Central Park in the next few months.
She will also work on reviving the brand’s retail presence in America’s more prestigious stores, as well as lay the foundation for Bruno Magli boutiques. Mueller said he anticipates the brand will open stores “in the next year at the latest.”
“There are not many brands with our heritage, but the fundamental part is that we want to evolve,” he noted. “We are going step by step and won’t create a mess and change for the sake of changing.”
The ceo said the Milan-based brand, which brought in $50 million in sales in 2011, will likely double in size in the next four to five years, if it sticks to its strategic growth plans, which include expanding into underdeveloped markets in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
For Malone, this means recapturing and growing the customer base, a challenge that Mueller is confident his old friend will conquer.
“It’s very important to bring back the whole luxury element to the brand,” Malone told WWD. “It was kind of out of sight, out of mind before. I’m looking forward to infusing fashion into the design and the relaunching of women’s, among other things.”