Lacoste USA has recruited former Kellwood Co. chief Robert C. Skinner Jr. as its new chairman and chief executive officer, confirming a WWD report this week.
Skinner, 54, will replace Robert Siegel, 71, who is retiring at the end of the year, after seven years at Lacoste.
Siegel served with Skinner on Kellwood’s board from October 2007 until February 2008, when Sun Capital Partners Inc. took over the long-suffering Chesterfield, Mo.-based vendor. The private equity firm replaced Skinner in July with Michael Kramer, former Abercrombie & Fitch Co. chief financial officer and executive vice president.
“I saw Bob under extremely difficult conditions, and I thought he was very mature and objective,” Siegel said. “There were some really challenged brands in that company, and I think Bob will love working with one great brand instead of many brands.”
As corporate group vice president of Oxford Industries Inc. from 1998 to 2000 and president of its Oxford Shirt Group from 1987 until 2000, when he joined Kellwood, Skinner has men’s wear experience that will cater well to Lacoste, which does about two-thirds of its U.S. business in men’s. But Kellwood also gave Skinner the women’s experience that he thinks could help Lacoste grow its women’s business to be equal to men’s.
“In total, the women’s market is twice the size of the men’s market, and I think we could grow women’s to be as much as men’s,” said Skinner Wednesday.
At about $320 million, Lacoste USA is a far smaller business than the $2 billion Kellwood. But with the 75-year-old Lacoste, Skinner gets a far healthier company than his previous stomping ground. While at Kellwood, Skinner’s goal was to shift the predominantly moderate firm into more high-end, higher-margin businesses and into retail, but acquisitions like Vince weren’t enough to turn the company around before it was taken over in February.
“I think of myself as a brand builder,” said Skinner.
Siegel drove expansion in his six years at Lacoste, growing it more than tenfold from the less than $30 million wholesale business he inherited in January 2002. By 2009, Lacoste USA will have 70 boutiques and 14 outlets.
Based in New York, Skinner will report to Christian Rondelet, managing director of distribution for Devanlay SA, the Paris-based holder of the worldwide manufacturing and distribution license for Lacoste apparel, which is owned by the Swiss retailer Maus Frères International Services S.A.S. Maus Frères through Devanlay also owns 35 percent of Lacoste SA, with 65 percent owned by the Lacoste family.
Siegel will become a non-executive member of Devanlay USA’s board, in addition to his board roles for Edun, Bono and Ali Hewson’s brand, and the pet company Harry Barker Inc.
Before Lacoste, Siegel was managing director at Kurt Salmon Associates Inc., chairman and ceo at Stride Rite Corp. and ceo of Levi Strauss & Co., where he launched Dockers in 1986.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty