– ASPREY’S MOVES: Asprey has named Vivien Yakopin to head its U.K. and European retail operations. Prior to joining Asprey, Yakopin was head of Swiss retail operations at Van Cleef & Arpels. She replaces Lord Bruce Dundas, who has in turn been named ambassador for Asprey, a newly created position. The company said Dundas will focus “on the worldwide promotion of the Asprey brand, together with the introduction of new high-profile and VIP clients.” The company, owned by Sciens Capital Management and Plainfields Asset Management LLC, has yet to replace Gianluca Brozzetti, who left the company as chief executive officer last year.
– LETTER ON CHINA: On the eve of high-level talks, Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, joined 10 other senators in urging Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. and the Bush administration to continue pressuring China to reform its currency policy. The U.S. and China today kick off two days of talks, known as the Strategic Economic Dialogue, in Annapolis, Md. Many lawmakers have called on the White House to label China a currency manipulator, which could lead to punitive sanctions by the World Trade Organization. But legislative efforts that would have pressured China to revalue its currency or face sanctions have stalled in Congress. The administration has opted for diplomatic prodding. China’s currency, which critics claim is undervalued and allows Chinese goods to enter the U.S. at unfairly low prices, has increased in value 19.8 percent since July 2005.
– HOSIERY HOOKUP: Royce Too, a hosiery licensor for brands such as Nine West and Nautica, has sold a majority stake of the company to Okamoto Corp., Japan’s largest specialized hosiery producer. The transaction will provide Royce with opportunities to expand into private label and specialty brand businesses, while offering Okamoto a foothold in the U.S. market through Royce’s extensive marketing and distribution networks.