By  on June 13, 2007

Coach has tapped former L'Oréal executive Thibault Villet as president of Greater China, a new post aimed at longtime growth in the area.

Villet will take his post at Coach in August and will report to Ian Bickley, president of Coach International. He will be based in Hong Kong and partner with Coach's regional distributors in developing, implementing and executing the company's Greater China strategy. Key points of focus for him will be to grow distribution and to raise brand awareness in the market.

Villet was with L'Oréal for 13 years and was most recently vice president of its luxury products division in Japan. His credits include rebranding the Lancôme image in China and launching a customer relationship management program and the Lancôme magazine.

"This is a newly created position that has been developed to support our Greater China initiative, focused on accelerating growth in this emerging market for luxury accessories," Coach chairman and chief executive officer Lew Frankfort said in a statement.

"Clearly, Mainland China will become a significant market for luxury brands during the next several years, as income and consumer spending levels catch up to the retail development that is already present in the market. Our goal is to become the leading accessible luxury brand in Greater China and now is the time to build that foundation."

There are 42 Coach locations in Greater China, with 19 stores in Taiwan, 12 in Hong Kong and 11 on the mainland, including four locations in Shanghai, four in Beijing and one each in Hangzhou, Shenzhen and Xi'an. The company has plans to open at least 20 stores in the region in the next three years, in addition to a new shop in Chengdu opening this month.

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