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St. John to Name Polese Retail EVP

St. John today will appoint Ralph Polese as its new executive vice president of retail.

IRVINE, Calif. — St. John today will appoint Ralph Polese as its new executive vice president of retail.

Polese, who joined the 44-year-old brand in March as chief executive officer of Asia, will oversee all retail functions and merchandising for the $400 million company’s 33 boutiques and 11 company stores.

He replaces Lowell Breving, who was recently promoted to executive vice president, chief merchant. No successor has been named for Polese.

Polese, who could not be reached Monday for comment, will join St. John’s executive committee and will report to interim chief executive officer Phillip Miller.

Prior to joining St. John, Polese was ceo of Sungjoo Design Tech & Distribution Inc., a partner with German brand MCM Products. Earlier he was with Gucci for 18 years and served as president of Gucci Korea.

“St. John is fortunate to have an executive of Mr. Polese’s broad expertise in luxury goods, merchandising and store management in the U.S. and Asian markets,” said Miller in a statement. “We look forward to the future growth of the brand with this new appointment.”

This story first appeared in the June 27, 2006 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.