By  on January 7, 2002

NEW YORK -- Robert Siegel has joined Devanlay, the Paris-based company that owns Lacoste's worldwide license, as chairman of the board of directors, a new post.

Siegel will work here at Lacoste USA's offices during the week, but will continue to live in Charleston, S.C., on weekends. Daniel Barth, president of Devanlay U.S., continues to oversee day-to-day operations and now reports to Siegel.

Prior to exiting Kurt Salmon Associates last week as managing director of its consumer branded division after a three-year stint, Siegel served as chairman and chief executive officer of Stride Rite Corp. He is most widely known in the apparel industry for his run as president of men's wear at Levi Strauss & Co. where he launched the Dockers label.

Reached Thursday in New York, Siegel said he aims to do a better job of reaching American consumers through "much more modern" products, advertising and product placement in the entertainment industry.

"We haven't done what we should have in the American market. We have a unique icon brand that has kept a relatively low profile in the U.S. market," he said. "We really want to refine our direction and certainly have a clearer business strategy. We have a powerful brand that is starting to rebound nicely."

Siegel credited Lacoste creative director Christophe Lemaire for helping to infuse a more youthful spirit in the brand. Building on that, the company plans to suit up more "movers and shakers" in the entertainment industry who have a strong influence on the rest of the market.

"We want to make sure the right people are wearing our products," Siegel said.

Unaware that Gwyneth Paltrow wears Lacoste dresses throughout most of Touchstone Pictures' "The Royal Tenenbaums," Siegel said that call must have been made by the film company. The movie's costume designer, Karen Patch, did in fact give the green light to the Lacoste look, a Touchstone Pictures spokesman said.

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