Versace Names U.S. CEO

Fashion house Versace taps Michele Sodi in a reorganization of the division.

NEW YORK — In a reorganization of its U.S. subsidiary, Gianni Versace SpA named Michele Sodi as chief executive officer of Versace USA, a newly created post.

This story first appeared in the September 10, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Most recently, Sodi was president of Jil Sander America for three years, where he worked directly with Versace ceo Gian Giacomo Ferraris, who was chief of Jil Sander AG before joining Versace in July.

Sodi comes to Versace with extensive experience in the U.S. market. Before Jil Sander, he was president of Balenciaga America from 2002 to 2006. Before that, he founded Fuel, a consultancy that worked on building U.S. marketing and business strategies for brands and companies such as Balenciaga, Onward Kashiyama and Frette.

Sodi, who began at Versace on Wednesday, has the task of developing and expanding the fashion house’s retail, wholesale and finance operations, including all of Versace’s product categories that are available in the U.S. market.

According to a company statement, “This reorganization is part of the Versace Group’s strategy to invest in the creation of strong new management teams worldwide to drive its business.”

Sodi, who was not available for comment, said in a statement he was joining the “Versace company at a time when there are so many opportunities for the development of the brand.”

Last week, Versace opened a 400-square-foot shop for ready-to-wear, accessories and shoes on Bergdorf Goodman’s second floor. In September 2008, Versace opened an 800-square-foot in-store shop at Hirshleifer’s in the Americana Mall in Manhasset, N.Y.

In addition, the company is readying the relaunch of Versus women’s r-t-w with a presentation during Milan Fashion Week this month.

Sodi, who reports to Ferraris, will also be advising on the fashion house’s global product development strategy.

Patrick Guadagno continues as president of wholesale and chief operating officer at Versace USA and reports to Sodi.