By  on February 4, 2009

Custo Barcelona has hired Dara Pauker as chief executive officer of North America, a new position at the estimated $125 million brand.

Pauker’s responsibilities at the novelty Spanish brand will be to expand the North American business through wholesale, retail and online avenues.

“Custo has a unique place in the market,” Pauker said. “Amidst all the doom and gloom, a brand that stands for color and optimism is a bright spot.”

Pauker was vice president of brand operations at Liz Claiborne Inc. until June 2008, overseeing store programs for the Liz Claiborne, Claiborne men’s and DKNY Jeans brands that represented more than $250 million in annual volume. She joined Claiborne in 2004 as group director of strategic planning and was promoted in 2006. Pauker began her career as a strategy consultant at Bain & Co. and The Bridgespan Group, and was founder, director and product manager for Pulse123, an online market research company under Walker Digital.

Custo Barcelona, whose wholesale prices average $50, is carried in more than 250 accounts, including Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom, and 17 of its own boutiques in the U.S., including New York, Miami and Las Vegas. Worldwide, Custo Barcelona has 83 units, and this year plans to open stores in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Qatar, Kiev, Caracas, Venezuela’s Isla de Margarita and Singapore. E-commerce is relaunching this month, Pauker said.

Based in New York, Pauker reports to co-founders David and Custo Dalmau. All the brand functions in the U.S. will report to her.

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