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LVMH Shifts Roles for Michael Burke, Pietro Beccari

The French luxury giant is dispatching two of its star executives to pilot key brands in Rome: Bulgari and Fendi.

PARIS — French luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is dispatching two of its star executives to pilot key brands in Rome.

LVMH said Monday that Michael Burke, currently chairman and chief executive officer of Fendi, would take up the management helm at Bulgari SpA. His successor at Fendi will be Pietro Beccari, the executive vice president of Louis Vuitton, who will become president and ceo of Fendi.

This confirms a report in WWD.

Both men are to take up their new posts in February, LVMH said in separate statements.

Since joining Vuitton in 2006 from consumer products giant Henkel, Beccari has been a behind-the-scenes force at the leather goods powerhouse, energizing its product and communications agenda.

Frenetic and driven in the mold of longtime Vuitton ceo Yves Carcelle, Beccari, 44, joined Vuitton as director of marketing and communications, uniting the two functions and ultimately taking on responsibility for business units including ready-to-wear and accessories.

According to market sources, sales of Vuitton fashion accessories — which include sunglasses, belts, scarves, costume jewelry and neckties — multiplied fivefold during his tenure, and Vuitton also made important strides in women’s rtw and the men’s business.

Beccari is also credited with dynamizing the design teams around artistic director Marc Jacobs, and putting muscle behind Vuitton’s various product volleys.

Last year, he was also named president of Berluti alongside Antoine Arnault, who is leading a rejuvenation and expansion drive at the LVMH-owned men’s-only brand.

A native of Parma, Italy, Beccari once played soccer professionally, and started his career in international marketing at consumer products giant Reckitt Benckiser in Milan. He went on to work for Parmalat in New York for a couple of years before joining Henkel in Germany.

At Henkel, he was promoted to Brussels-based general manager for Benelux, gradually taking on operational responsibilities for the Schwarzkopf hair care brand in Eastern and Central Europe and worldwide brand responsibilities. Among his claims to fame at Henkel was becoming its youngest vice president.

Beccari’s successor at Vuitton has yet to be named.

Burke joins Bulgari with a successful track record at Fendi, where he led a turnaround effort and built an integrated distribution model for its fashions, furs and leather goods businesses.

LVMH acquired Bulgari earlier this year in one of the largest luxury deals of the year. The French luxury giant paid a premium for a majority stake in the jeweler — the cash-and-share swap value estimated at more than $6 billion — and is eager to set it on a path to greater heights. Considered a key protégé of LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault, Burke started his career with the French business titan in 1980, working at various Arnault holdings before joining Christian Dior in the U.S. in 1986.

He was president and ceo of Louis Vuitton North America from 1993 until 1997, when he became worldwide managing director of Christian Dior Couture in Paris. In 2003, he was named to the management helm of Fendi, where he helped transform a family-owned enterprise with complicated dynamics into a taut and professionally run luxury player with high profitability.

At Bulgari, Burke will take on responsibilities previously held by Francesco Trapani. As part of the deal, which made the Bulgari family the second-largest shareholders in LVMH, Trapani took the management helm of the French group’s watch and jewelry business, of which Bulgari is the largest property with 2010 revenues of 1.07 billion euros, or $1.41 billion at average exchange. Trapani also joined the executive committee of LVMH.

LVMH noted that Alessandro Bogliolo, Bulgari’s chief operating officer, would continue in his current position during a transition period before taking over a new assignment within the luxury group.