BERLIN — Speculation is building in Europe that a changing of the guard may be imminent at Escada.
Although friction seemed to have eased between Escada AG's major shareholder, Rustam Aksenenko, and chief executive officer, Frank Rheinboldt, at the company's annual general meeting in mid-May, reports now suggest Aksenenko will push to replace Rheinboldt at a supervisory board meeting Thursday.
Jean-Marc Loubier, a member of the Escada supervisory board who was previously ceo at Celine, is being cited as the mostly likely candidate to take over the Escada top post.
Aksenenko, whose Geneva-based holding company, Finartis, holds a 25.5 percent stake in the German fashion house, long has complained that Escada has not sufficiently promoted its accessories business in the manner of luxury market competitors Gucci and Prada. Accessories currently account for about 7 percent of Escada's annual sales and are a relatively new business segment for the apparel maker.
An Escada spokesman declined to comment on the reports, as did Loubier.
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