PARIS — The administrative board of German sporting goods maker Puma on Tuesday unanimously elected Jean-François Palus as its new chairman, following the resignation of Jochen Zeitz earlier this month.
Palus, group managing director of Puma’s parent company PPR and a member of Puma’s supervisory board since 2007, had been widely expected to take over the post. His appointment is effective Dec. 1.
“I have come to value Puma highly over the last five years of successful cooperation and I would like to thank Jochen Zeitz for his invaluable contribution to Puma’s outstanding development for more than 20 years,” Palus stated.
“Puma is a fantastic brand and company with highly committed people. I am looking forward to working with management to tap into the huge potential alongside Franz Koch and his Puma team to become the most desirable and sustainable sport lifestyle company in the world,” he added.
In his 22 years at the Herzogenaurach, Germany-based brand, Zeitz helped sales climb from around 250 million euros a year to more than 3 billion euros in 2011. Last year, he handed over the chief executive officer position at Puma to Franz Koch, who was charged with meeting the company’s target of posting sales of 4 billion euros by 2015. But Puma has hit a rough patch, with its profitability declining over the last two years. At a recent PPR press day with top managers, Palus said Puma needed to take action rapidly to address its poor results.
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“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia