By  on October 15, 2009

Paulette Garafalo has been named chief executive officer of Bally Americas.

Garafalo, who began her career as a women’s shoe buyer and merchandiser at Bally in the Eighties, succeeds Steven LaGuardia, who resigned from the post to pursue other interests earlier this month.

Garafalo has had more than two decades of experience working in the luxury arena. In June, she left Hartmarx Corp., where she was president of the luxury group and managed the Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx businesses for 11 years. She is credited with the transformation of Hickey Freeman from a tailored clothing brand to a luxury label, opening stores for the firm and starting a diffusion line called Hickey. She also had a stint at Salvatore Ferragamo in the U.S.

At Bally, her responsibilities include bolstering performance in wholesale, retail and online. She takes her new post today and reports to Bally’s interim ceo, Peter Harf. Harf is the ceo of Joh. A. Benckiser SE as well as the chairman of Coty.

Bally, the 158-year-old Swiss firm currently has 11 stores in the U.S. and distribution in specialty stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue. In December, there are plans to open an additional boutique in the new City Center shopping complex in Las Vegas. The firm, known for its shoes, accessories and ready-to-wear under the creative direction of Brian Atwood, is owned by Labelux Group, a privately held Vienna-based luxury goods holding company controlled by Joh. A. Benckiser SE.

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