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MILAN — It’s game over for Marco Bortoletti at Replay.
The chief executive officer of Fashion Box, the holding company of the Replay, Replay & Sons and We Are Replay brands, is leaving the group at the end of the month, the company said.
Bortoletti and Replay representatives declined to comment on specific reasons for his departure.
“Replay has been an extraordinary adventure during my career, with its many exciting challenges and great deal of satisfaction,” Bortoletti said. “After 18 years spent working intensively within the group, and especially after the last seven years with the parent company, I feel the time has come for me to follow a new direction and a new life plan.”
Bortoletti’s next move — and whether he is to retain his 10 percent holding in the group — is unclear. Fashion Box said that Bortoletti’s ownership stake has not been decided and that it would name a new group ceo in the coming weeks.
Paola Buziol Dametto, Fashion Box’s majority shareholder and widow of company founder Claudio Buziol, said: “Our work to continue and expand a project started many years ago will go on with the same commitment and enthusiasm as ever, and we would like to wish Marco all the very best for the future.”
Bortoletti is credited with driving the rapid expansion of the 27-year-old denim and sportswear group since Buziol died of a heart attack in 2005.
Fashion Box has not released consolidated results for 2007. However, Bortoletti said in December sales were expected to be in line with 2006 figures of 350 million euros, or $437.5 million at average exchange for the period. The company is expanding its product portfolio and reach, particularly in Asia, where it plans store openings over the next three years.
The company also has moved to strengthen its footwear business, one of its fastest-growing segments. In March, Fashion Box said it was forming a joint venture, dubbed Orient Box, with Hong-Kong-based Sugi International Ltd. for the production and distribution of Replay-branded footwear worldwide. Sugi International has held the license for Replay footwear for almost a decade.
“There are two aims behind the creation of Orient Box,” Bortoletti said last month. “On the one hand, to reinforce our collaboration with a partner that has been offering us dedicated, wholehearted support for nine years now, and on the other, to give us a more direct control over what for us has become a strategic activity.”
He added that footwear has achieved double-digit growth over the last two years, reaching about $80 million in sales in 2007.
In the U.S., the company continues to use its New York flagship in SoHo as both store and event space. The Prince Street location is getting a makeover in preparation for Earth Week, which runs April 21 to 25. The windows will feature eco-friendly art for the month. In honor of Earth Day, the company has tapped singer-songwriter Ben Jelen to perform a free concert at the store on April 22. The company will also donate 10 percent of all sales from the store during the week to the Ben Jelen Foundation, with the goal of educating and raising awareness of environmental issues.