Marcello Bottoli, president and chief executive officer of Samsonite, has left the company.
This story first appeared in the January 14, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“After five years, it’s been a fantastic ride,” said Bottoli, who departed Monday and plans to take some time off before making his next career move. “With any departure there’s a set of regrets…but at the same time I want to do something else.”
Bottoli said Samsonite Corp.’s chief financial officer Richard H. Wiley has also left the firm after 14 years. The two worked closely together at Samsonite and are close friends, said Bottoli.
In July 2007, equity fund CVC Partners acquired Samsonite for about $1.7 billion.
CVC Partners referred calls to Samsonite, whose representative couldn’t be reached for comment.
Under Bottoli’s leadership, Samsonite ventured into the luxury and designer arena with its Black Label collection of high-end luggage and special edition capsule collections designed by the likes of Alexander McQueen, Marc Newson, Chloë Sevigny and Viktor & Rolf. This was considered revolutionary for Samsonite, which has long been known for staid, utilitarian products. In September, Samsonite replaced its global creative director Quentin Mackay with Christopher Pearson, who had previously worked at Lanvin, Louis Vuitton and Hermès.
Bottoli also facilitated the 2006 acquisition of Manhattan-based luxury accessories firm Lambertson Truex, which is famous for its four- and five-figure exotic skin handbags. He also spearheaded the opening of Lambertson Truex’s first boutiques in Los Angeles, New York and Las Vegas. Last month the firm put Lambertson Truex, of which Bottoli was also ceo, up for sale.
“We’re moving forward here. We’re meeting everyday, preparing our collection,” said John Truex, co-founder and co-creative director, who, along with Richard Lambertson, is actively looking for an investor in the brand. “Lambertson Truex is important to us, so that’s what we’re focusing on right now.”