By  on November 7, 2007

MILAN — Valentino SpA is bolstering its management ranks.

Valentino, a unit of Valentino Fashion Group SpA, tapped new heads for Japan, Asia Pacific, product marketing and retail, all of whom will report to Graziano De Boni, president of worldwide sales, marketing and retail.

"This is a starting point of our strategy," Valentino chief executive Stefano Sassi told WWD. "Without a strong team it would be difficult for us to reach the aggressive objectives we've set for ourselves...without qualified people you can't accomplish anything."

Gucci Group and Prada alum Oliver Yang will become chief executive of Valentino Asia Pacific, effective Jan. 1. Yang, who replaces an outgoing Giovanni Di Salvo, will be based in Hong Kong and oversee the brand's development in the region, including the opening of two stores in China next year.

As reported, former Christian Dior executive Mitsuyasu Matsumi took over as ceo of Valentino Japan Sept. 1. Matsumi is the third person to hold that post during the past year. Over that time period, the brand has struggled amid tough competition and a sluggish market for luxury goods. Tokyo-based Matsumi will manage Valentino's network of 26 stores in the country.

Rossana Bianchi, a 13-year Prada veteran, is now director of Valentino's retail operations. Paolo Riva, formerly of Salvatore Ferragamo, will oversee product marketing for Valentino.

Valentino also appointed Marco Sani as operations manager for footwear and leather goods, a new position. But unlike the other newly tapped managers reporting to De Boni, Sani reports directly to Sassi. Sani, formerly of Gucci Group, will manage a new production and logistics hub for Valentino's accessories business in Scandicci, near Florence.

In U.S. news, Zack Dobbins has been hired as director of visual and merchandising for Valentino North America. A former Ralph Lauren executive, he reports to Wendy Kahn, executive vice president of sales, marketing and retail. Another new hire, Jim Shay, who has joined Valentino North America as men's director of sales, also reports to her.

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