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Ballantyne Taps New CEO

Ballantyne has tapped Giuseppe Rossi as chief executive officer and general manager.

MILAN — Ballantyne has tapped Giuseppe Rossi as chief executive officer and general manager.

While the ceo title is a new post at the knitwear firm, Rossi, who started last week, replaces Andrè Piot as general manager. The 40-year-old Rossi hails from Calvin Klein’s European division, where he served as ceo for the past four years.

At Ballantyne, he is plotting a growth plan focused on raising brand awareness; opening more stores in European capitals; launching precollections, and balancing out the collection’s ratio of knitwear and woven apparel.

The 87-year-old knitwear specialist will close the year with sales of 30 million euros, or $38 million at current exchange. Ballantyne is controlled by Italian equity fund Charme and has six flagships, including units in Milan, London and Tokyo.

Knitwear rakes in 80 percent of revenues, a figure Rossi aims to shrink to 60 percent by augmenting the wovens starting with spring 2010. Ballantyne’s creative director David Di Firmo is currently working on the firm’s first pre-fall collection. “We’re very keen on widening our offerings because we plan on opening more directly operated stores and corners in departments stores,” said Rossi.

He added the company is also tweaking the store concept to make it fresher and lighter and to better accommodate the bigger clothing and accessories collections.