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Coach Fortifies Ranks for Asian Push

The company, which is the number-two imported handbag and accessories brand in Japan, is following up on last year's aggressive retail push in the Far East with the shuffling of some executive positions.

NEW YORK — Coach has big plans for Asia — to the tune of 80 billion yen, or more than $700 million at current exchange, in projected annual sales by 2009.

The company, which is the number-two imported handbag and accessories brand in Japan, is following up on last year’s aggressive retail push in the Far East with the shuffling of some executive positions.

Ian Bickley, presi­dent and chief executive officer of Coach Japan Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Coach Inc., has been appointed president of Coach Inter­national. Bickley will be responsible for Coach Japan, and the firm’s international wholesale business in Asia and other emerging markets. Under Bickley’s leadership, the business has grown fourfold. The firm now has 112 stores in Japan, where it currently has sales of about 40 billion yen, or more than $350 million.

Victor Luis will take Bickley’s former position and will be responsible for the strategic leadership and operating results of Coach Japan. He joins Coach from crystal and jewelry firm Baccarat, where he is now president and ceo in North America. Luis spent 12 years in Japan prior to his work at Baccarat, including seven years with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in a number of roles, the last being president and ceo of Givenchy Japan.

Peter Emmerson, who has been president of Coach International since 1999, will take on the newly created role of president of global business development. He will report to Coach president and ceo Lew Frankfort.

“Ian’s new role and Victor’s appointment will allow Peter to focus on one of our most important strategic initiatives, the identification of new and emerging markets for the Coach brand,” said Frankfort in a statement. “Business development has long been a particular strength of Peter’s and I am extremely enthusiastic about his recent successes in this area and, with this intensified focus, our prospects for growth.”

This story first appeared in the May 2, 2006 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.