By and  on September 7, 2005

PARIS — Giacomo Santucci, the former Gucci chief executive who joined Dolce & Gabbana six months ago as its commercial, licenses and retail director, has resigned from the company.

Word of Santucci's exit came just as Dolce & Gabbana officially welcomed a new U.S. president, Glenn McMahon, confirming reports in these columns on Friday. McMahon, former president of Ellen Tracy, will join the Italian designer firm on Sept. 12.

Santucci could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. A Dolce & Gabbana spokesman in Milan declined to elaborate on a terse release, stating that Santucci had left "for personal reasons." In the statement, however, the company thanked Santucci "for his valuable collaboration and competence demonstrated during his brief stay within the company."

But industry sources suggested Santucci may have become frustrated with a lack of decision-making authority in his post, a new one that reported to Alfonso Dolce, board member and Domenico Dolce's brother, and Cristiana Ruella, general affairs director, both top-tier executives at the firm.

Santucci's role was said to involve coordinating all commercial functions, including wholesale, retail and licensing, as well as "harmonizing" the market presence of its two brands, Dolce & Gabbana and D&G.

Still, some in the industry were puzzled by the reporting structure of Santucci's new position and surprised that he had accepted less than a chief executive's post.

Last year, Gucci Group "terminated" Santucci as ceo of the Gucci brand in a whirlwind of management changes under new group ceo Robert Polet and majority shareholder PPR.

Santucci joined Gucci in January 2001 and the industry considered him one of several potential candidates whom PPR could promote to the group ceo slot to replace the outgoing Domenico De Sole. Instead, Santucci stayed on as Gucci brand ceo until relations with PPR soured late last year.

Prior to joining Gucci, Santucci spent eight years at Prada, helping to develop the company's cosmetics and eyewear businesses, reorganizing operations in Asia and working closely with acquired brands like Helmut Lang.

Meanwhile, McMahon will succeed Gabriella Forte, who last March revealed her plans to exit Dolce & Gabbana after three years at the firm, marking a significant power shift at the Italian fashion house. Forte agreed to stay on until her successor was found, and reportedly had a hand in picking McMahon.Reached Tuesday, Forte waved off speculation she might be heading back to the company to replace Santucci. "Right now, I'm making sure there's a smooth transition," she said. McMahon will report to Dolce & Gabbana's board "for all matters concerning the subsidiary's management," said the company in a separate statement, noting the executive's "vast experience." Prior to Ellen Tracy, McMahon was president of Kenneth Cole's women's sportswear, and before that, executive vice president of Giorgio Armani Le Collezioni.

As reported, Ellen Tracy has already filled McMahon's vacancy by promoting its longtime executive vice president Howard Rosenberger.

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