LOS ANGELES — Guess Inc. announced key changes to its executive roster on Wednesday, including the departure of its chief financial officer, as the company focuses on expanding its international business and managing the transformation from a wholesaler to a retailer.
Los Angeles-based Guess, which was a pioneer in the designer denim industry, has been diversifying its business, including starting a breakout division called Marciano. Retail operations now make up 80 percent of revenue, compared with 25 percent in 2000.
"We move where the market is moving," said Paul Marciano, co-chairman and chief executive officer, who founded Guess in 1981 with his brother, Maurice. "The growth in international is taking center stage for us, if not front stage."
Marciano said Guess opened 45 freestanding retail apparel stores and 57 accessories stores outside the U.S. last year. "We plan bigger numbers than that in 2006," Marciano said, targeting cities such as St. Petersburg, Athens, Istanbul, New Delhi, Ho Chi Minh City, Sydney, Beijing and Shanghai.
The turnaround at Guess has occurred during the last six years as the domestic premium denim sector exploded with aggressive upstarts and foreign countries offered new opportunities with a growing middle class.
Finances also rebounded. Guess reported net earnings of $29.6 million on net revenue of $729.3 million in 2004, up from net earnings of $7.3 million on net revenue of $636.6 million in 2003. By comparison, in 2000 the company had net earnings of $16.5 million on net revenue of $779.2 million.
Guess said Frederick G. Silny will depart as cfo on May 9 to pursue other opportunities. Silny didn't return a call for comment.
Carlos Alberini, Guess's president and chief operating officer, will handle duties as finance chief until a successor is named. "We will definitely emphasize an international background with a lot of strategic vision," Alberini said in describing the search for Silny's replacement. "We think that is what the company needs today and that's where we are going."
Guess also said that Stephen Pearson, who was executive vice president at J. Jill Group, had been hired as executive vice president and chief supply chain officer, and that Laurent Marchal, who was managing director of Zara Canada, signed on as president of Guess Canada. Both are newly created positions reporting to Alberini.
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"