Mario Grauso will today step down as president of Carolina Herrera Ltd. and Puig Fashion Group.

This story first appeared in the September 14, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The news confirms a report published in WWD late last month.

In a statement from Puig SL chairman and chief executive officer Marc Puig, he said that he, Herrera and Grauso came to a mutual agreement that Grauso’s contract would not be renewed.

Grauso joined the company in 2000 and “helped to build this house significantly for 10 years,” Puig said. His initial assignment was as president of Carolina Herrera, and in 2004 he took on the role of overseeing the Nina Ricci and Paco Rabanne fashion houses.

Some credit Grauso with amping up the company’s designer ties to Hollywood, helping to turn celebrities such as Renée Zellweger into diehard Carolina Herrera fans.

A search for a successor for Grauso’s post as president of Carolina Herrera is under way, but in the meantime Puig has assumed those responsibilities.

It is understood Grauso’s departure is primarily an amicable one. But one source speculated he had been displeased with the recent exit of Nina Ricci’s designer, Olivier Theyskens. He has since been replaced by Peter Copping from Louis Vuitton.

“We thank Mario for his contributions and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” Puig said.

Grauso started his career as an intern at Ralph Lauren (where he met his wife Anne) and climbed the fashion ranks fairly quickly. Before joining Herrera, he was executive vice president of Vera Wang. At one time, he also served as president of Celine Inc., the United States operations of the Paris-based fashion brand.

Grauso could not be reached for comment at press time.