By  on January 14, 2008

Calvin Klein Inc. has tapped Robert Vignola as president of Calvin Klein Collection, a newly created post.Vignola, whose role becomes effective on Feb.4, was most recently president and chief executive officer of Judith Leiber LLC, where he was the driving force behind many of the changes implemented to revitalize the accessories company. He left Leiber in February to be a consultant to private equity firms. Before Leiber, Vignola had been executive vice president at Burberry North America, and had held senior positions at Hartmarx Corp., GFT Corp. and Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.At CKI, Vignola will be in charge of global sales and merchandising for men's and women's Collection. CKI is bringing the Collection business back in-house, taking over Warnaco's shares of Calvin Klein Collection licensee Confezioni Moda Italia Srl, or CMI. Warnaco was due to begin producing Collection this year.Vignola will be based at CKI's New York headquarters and report to Fabio Fusco, ceo of CMI, who will remain with the company once the transfer from Warnaco is completed. "As we take over direct ownership of the [Collection] business, we felt an integral part of the growth strategy would be to have an experienced, qualified executive with a balanced background in men's and women's designer apparel and accessories, with an emphasis on global sales and merchandising," said Tom Murry, CKI's president and chief operating officer, to whom Fusco reports. The deal with Warnaco is expected to close this month. Once completed, CKI is set on significant growth, with plans to open more freestanding Collection boutiques over the next three years. "One of his first priorities will be to build a merchandising organization," Murry said. "He will be evaluating the product line, working closely with the creative directors, new merchandisers and Fabio Fusco to make sure that the collection has the right balance to achieve a commercial success as well as a runway and press success."

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