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LONDON — Labelux has named Frédéric de Narp chief executive officer of Bally, where there are changes afoot.
This story first appeared in the September 20, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
De Narp, who was most recently president and ceo of Harry Winston Inc., will take up his post on Nov. 4. He moves into the job left vacant by Berndt Hauptkorn at the end of 2011.
Reinhard Mieck, ceo of Bally’s parent Labelux, who had been temporarily filling the post, said de Narp will be in charge of a revamped Bally and “drive the company forward” together with Manuel Frei, the brand’s chief creative officer, who quietly joined Bally last year.
“We are reconnecting with Bally’s DNA: It’s the only Swiss luxury brand, and it was always known for its pioneering spirit, its workmanship and quality, and its shoes and leather goods,” said Mieck. “This may not have been as clear and crisp in the past — and we are really proud of how we want to move the brand forward.”
Mieck added that a new store concept would be unveiled on London’s Bond Street in June.
He said he chose de Narp partly because he was impressed with his career trajectory. “He comes from stores: He started his career working at Cartier’s shop in Ginza, Tokyo, and worked his way up. He is a great manager and has extraordinary personal skills. We think he has the same culture as Labelux,” he said.
“He’s a widely acknowledged leader in the luxury sector and has a track record of fantastic success at Cartier and Harry Winston,” Mieck added.
At Harry Winston, de Narp helped engineer the sale of the company’s watch and jewelry business to The Swatch Group Ltd. for $1 billion last year.
Before joining Winston, the Brittany, France-born de Narp was president and ceo of Cartier North America, and brought much attention to that brand with the successful push of the Love campaign of jewelry and watches, splashy celebrity-focused events and the rare U.S. launch of a high jewelry collection.
He began his run at Cartier more than two decades ago in Japan, and worked in the Compagnie Financière Richemont-owned firm’s satellite offices throughout Tokyo, Switzerland, Italy and Greece, before arriving in the U.S.
De Narp said the Bally opportunity was an exciting one. “I have been extremely impressed by the work that has been taking place behind the scenes so far, and by the values of modern craftsmanship and innovation at the heart of the brand.”
He will be working with Frei, a former editor of German GQ. “He has a powerful creative vision for the brand and seeing the translation of that vision is fantastic,” said Mieck.
Asked whether Bally planned to name a replacement for its creative directors Graeme Fidler and Michael Herz, whose last collection is for spring, Mieck said no.
“Manuel is the creative head and will be working with a full, in-house design team that reports to him,” he said, adding that Fidler and Herz did “a brilliant job” at the brand.
Bally is owned by Labelux, which in turn is owned by Joh. A. Benckiser SE, a family-controlled financial holding company. Labelux purchased Bally in April 2008 from the private investment fund TPG Capital.