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NEW YORK — Elie Tahari has brought in Bob Galvin as his company’s new chief executive officer.
This story first appeared in the January 25, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Galvin, who started Monday, was previously president at The Camuto Group, where he played a significant role in its transformation into a diversified branded lifestyle company. He left Camuto last January.
Galvin is joining to Tahari at a key moment. The designer in 2013 is marking his 40th year in business. Over the past few months, the Elie Tahari company has also undergone a reorganization with several strategic hires, and Galvin’s appointment is a key one to strengthen and position it for further growth.
“I am at a point in the business where I need to concentrate on the product, and after 40 years, I know what I am not good at, and I am not good at running a company,” Tahari said, with surprising honesty, during an exclusive interview with Galvin at his West 42nd Street office here. “When I look back at when the company was running the best, it was when it was run by good management, and not by me.”
Tahari was, until now, chairman as well as ceo. While he can now focus his efforts on product, Galvin will spearhead wholesale, retail and international sales for both women’s and men’s collections, as well as areas such as accessories, merchandising, marketing, licensing, product development and production.
Galvin called the brand’s potential “unlimited. It’s focusing on the future and different areas where we’re not, where we are, and where we see so much potential.”
At Camuto, where he spent the past five years, Galvin was also in charge of commercial activities, including expanding the business globally. He worked on other brands associated with the company, like Tory Burch, BCBG Max Azria, Jessica Simpson, Lucky Brand and Sanctuary Clothing. Before, he served as chief operating officer and managing director of Fila, and, prior, was executive vice president at Nine West.
His extensive background and expertise will be key as he develops a strategic platform to grow the Elie Tahari brand.
“We need to rebuild our sales and improve on our production; we need to build a sense of togetherness and a great organization,” Tahari said.
Tahari currently has 600 points of sale at wholesale and 33 stores domestically, excluding e-commerce, in addition to several partnerships for international markets, including SK Networks in Korea.
“We value and want great retail partners and want shops in strategic locations around the country that become showcases for the brand,” Galvin said. “It may mean at times that we would look to exit some of the smaller doors where the brand is not presented in the way that we would like it to be. Our goal is to control and elevate the experience our consumer has with our brand like we have been able to do in our retail stores.”
Galvin cited men’s wear, handbags and footwear as particular areas with immediate growth potential. “We also have huge potential overseas with the right partners for stores and franchise agreements,” he said.
He added the brand is as yet “untapped” in many key categories. “There is no fragrance. There are no watches, there’s really no jewelry, and we can do a better job with home,” Galvin said. “This is a lifestyle brand, and it has not been demonstrated as a full lifestyle brand at this point in time.”