By  on January 8, 2009

PARIS — Paul Deneve, chief executive officer at Lanvin, has exited the fast-growing fashion house, WWD has learned.

A Lanvin spokeswoman in Paris confirmed his departure Wednesday, citing “diverging points of view” on the direction of the company, which is controlled by Taiwanese publishing magnate Shaw-Lan Wang.

The spokeswoman declined further comment, and said an announcement about Deneve’s successor would be forthcoming. She did not give any time frame.

Deneve is the second top manager to leave Lanvin recently. Last month, Stella McCartney said she tapped Frederick Lukoff, Lanvin’s director of business development, as her new president and chief executive officer, effective Feb. 23.

Deneve joined Lanvin as deputy general manager in 2006 from Nina Ricci, where he had been president. Deneve has also been general manager of Courrèges, and worked at Apple and Exxon prior to that.

His tenure at Lanvin came in tandem with rapid growth for the Paris firm, propelled by designer Alber Elbaz’s seductive designs, and an improving financial picture. In an interview last October, Deneve said Lanvin was on track to become a $200 million fashion house in 2008, with growth forecast at 30 percent last year.

Disclosing key financial figures to WWD at the time, Deneve said Lanvin posted 2007 revenues of 108.6 million euros, or $148.9 million, not including royalty income of 3.7 million euros, or $5.1 million.

That compares with 2005 revenues, excluding royalties, of 67 million euros, or $83.4 million. Dollar figures are converted from euros at average exchange rates for the respective periods.

The gains reflect a retooling of the supply chain, strides in leather goods, and a rejuvenated men’s wear business.

Women’s ready-to-wear represented 42 percent of the Lanvin business in 2007, with men’s wear at 31 percent and accessories for women and men at 27 percent.

Still, the company, which entered the black in 2007 for the first time in a decade and remained so in 2008, has been hamstrung by a lack of investment capital to expand its retail network, which is underdeveloped vis-à-vis its competitors. In 2007, Wang sold Lanvin’s fragrance and cosmetics business to Inter Parfums SA for 22 million euros, or about $30 million, to insure it had the funds necessary to develop the rtw and accessories businesses. It was a move that raised eyebrows in the industry and, according to sources, was a divisive issue in the uppermost echelons of the company.

Since then, Lanvin has pursued modest retail expansion of three to four units a year. There are 10 company-owned stores: four in Europe and six in Asia. There are also 30 stores operated with partners. A women’s wear flagship on London’s Mount Street is slated to open next month.

As reported first in WWD, Wang had been exclusive negotiations until last November with a Qatar-based investor to sell a minority stake in Lanvin, but the talks failed.

Deneve could not immediately be reached for comment.

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