HONG KONG — Li & Fung, the Hong Kong-based sourcing giant, has made major changes to its top leadership. William Fung will assume the role of chairman while Bruce Rockowitz has been named group president and chief executive officer.
Victor Fung, the current group chairman, will step down by the next annual general meeting in 2012. William Fung will assume the chairmanship when his brother relinquishes the post. In the meantime, William Fung will take on the role of executive deputy chairman.
“Li & Fung has reached a size and scale that requires a new organizational structure,” said Victor Fung. “These arrangements are designed for Li & Fung to manage even more effectively our diverse and fast-growing business across the world.”
William Fung has been group managing director since 1986. In the years since, Li & Fung has grown into the world’s largest sourcing company with a turnover of $15.91 billion in the year ended Dec. 31.
Rockowitz, who was previously an executive director of Li & Fung and president of Li & Fung Trading, will now spearhead the implementation of the group’s three-year plan, which includes developing the company into three global networks: trading, logistics and distribution.
Rockowitz said the executive-level changes are in line with the company’s recent restructuring, which saw the addition of nine new presidents across the three divisions.
“This has been happening over the last eight to nine months. William and I are the final two pieces of the puzzle,” he said.
In its most recent three-year plan, Li & Fung set a target of reaching $1.5 billion in core operating profits by 2013, with trading, logistics and distribution expected to contribute $700 million, $100 million and $700 million, respectively. Rockowitz said the company is bullish on reaching its goals, noting the acquisition in August last year of IDS (Integrated Distribution Services Group), which is the cornerstone of Li & Fung’s logistics and distribution business.
“We’re very positive,” said Rockowitz. “We’re long-term players, so we feel good about [the three year plan].”
Rockowitz confirmed that Li & Fung is also in various stages of completing more acquisitions, although no announcement on that front will be made until August. In the meantime, the company’s biggest challenge is unprecedented price pressure.
“For everyone the number-one topic and focus is pricing. We went from a 20- to 30-year deficit to inflation, which we will have for the foreseeable future and it happened so quickly. But it seems that it has started to settle down because people are buying fewer units, but at higher prices, it’s freeing up space at the factories,” he said.
Rockowitz also pointed out that Victor Fung will be busy after he steps down as chairman, continuing as a non-executive director of the board and chairman of the company’s risk management and sustainability committee, as well as overseeing the Fung family’s other investments and philanthropic projects.
“These are two extremely driven but extremely nice people,” said Rockowitz of Victor and William Fung. ‘The three of us have a great relationship and nothing’s changing. Victor will still be on the board of [the company] — trust me, he’s not going anywhere.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
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Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast