By  on November 20, 2007

MILAN — There is a changing of the guard in top management at Gianfranco Ferré.

Massimo Macchi has stepped down as chief executive officer, and Ferré tapped marketing and merchandising director Michela Piva to be the new ceo.

Macchi is said to be set to take a top spot with the European operations of Guess. He could not be reached for comment.

"I am honored to take on this important role," Piva told WWD. "I will continue to work diligently and passionately with [creative director] Lars Nilsson to develop this great brand, a symbol of excellence and Made in Italy."

Piva, 43, was a close collaborator with the late Gianfranco Ferré and was instrumental in expanding the brand's product offering to daywear and accessories, said a spokesman with IT Holding SpA, Ferré's parent company.

Piva has worked at Ferré since 2003 holding various positions overseeing the European, Asian and American markets. She became director of marketing and merchandising in 2004.

Tonino Perna, IT Holding's chairman, said that Piva's appointment is a "fundamental step" in the company's strategic development.

"Michela Piva has a solid background in the luxury market, deep experience of international markets and a direct knowledge of the Maison Ferré," Perna said in a statement.

Macchi will retain his post as IT Holding's vice chairman until Dec. 12, when that position will be eliminated as part of a corporate restructuring.

Macchi, a former executive at both Bulgari SpA and Gucci Group, has been ceo of Ferré since February 2005. He played a large role in the turnaround of the fashion house.

In June, just 10 days after the founding designer's death, Perna and Macchi outlined an ambitious growth plan for Ferré, including an updated boutique and a wider array of accessories. They forecast that the fashion house would almost double in size to become a 206 million euro, or $278.1 million, business by 2010.

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