MILAN — In an on-again-off-again relationship, Andrea Pinto unexpectedly left Krizia this week after having been back at the company just eight months, WWD has learned.

Pinto rejoined the company last July as general manager after a seven-year hiatus. He is the son of Aldo Pinto and stepson of Mariuccia Mandelli, the husband-and-wife team that founded Krizia in 1954.

During an interview in February, Andrea Pinto joked with Mandelli and said he was "really happy to be back."

Although Mandelli is a hands-on designer and manager, she said she was looking forward to shifting some of the attention to Andrea. She added that she considered the younger Pinto to be part of a succession plan for the brand.

"I like to follow the company as much as I can, but it’s not true that I want to be at the center of it all," Mandelli said in that interview. "That’s why Andrea is here, and some of the attention will shift to him."

His responsibilities were focused on strengthening and renovating the company’s stores; developing new markets like China and Russia; reinforcing the commercial structure, and organizing Krizia’s manufacturing plant in Sesto Ulteriano, outside Milan.

Pinto also said he was in talks with a licensee to launch a men’s sportswear line in 2004.

The house’s sales have grown nearly 30 percent during the past year. For 2002, wholesale volume amounted to $240 million, including revenues from 38 licenses.

The company plans to open boutiques in Beijing, Shanghai, Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Seoul this year and next. After extensive renovations, the flagship here reopened March 1. Mandelli first opened that boutique 20 years ago on Via Spiga.

Regarding Andrea Pinto’s departure, Mandelli said through a spokesman that she had "nothing to say," and she declined to reveal reasons for the termination of the work relationship or whether a successor will be named. Pinto could not be reached for comment.

Pinto worked for about 12 years at Krizia until 1995, when he left to become general director of Mila Schön. In October 2001, Pinto was appointed president of Nina Ricci.

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