NEW YORK — Oscar de la Renta Ltd. named executives for two newly created posts Tuesday, the first major management appointments since Jeffry Aronsson resigned as chief executive officer in January to take the same title at Marc Jacobs.
Rachel Barnett was promoted to chief operating officer and Alexander Bolen has joined the company as director of corporate development. Both report to Oscar de la Renta, chairman and ceo, and will now sit on the company’s board.
The appointments come at a busy time for the ready-to-wear firm, which generates an estimated $50 million in collection sales, plus more than $600 million at retail with licensed products.
Bolen is married to de la Renta’s stepdaughter, Eliza Reed Bolen, who is vice president of licensing at the firm. He had a 14-year career on Wall Street and was most recently managing director of Mezzanine Capital Group, a division of investment bank Bear, Stearns & Co. He also worked as a consultant to the de la Renta firm for the past year.
Barnett, meanwhile, held the role of chief financial officer at the company since 1995 and will continue to oversee the financial operations.
“Together, Rachel, Alex and I will look to forge new alliances while ensuring that we are strengthening our existing businesses,” de la Renta said in a statement. “We are enjoying wonderful acceptance at retail of our ready-to-wear collections. Our accessories and licensing businesses are consistently exceeding our expectations.”
Areas where the company could focus some of its energy include licensing, company-owned retail and partnerships for lower-priced lines. De la Renta and J.C. Penney Co. are said to be in talks to develop a moderate- to better-priced line, though both parties remain mum on the subject.
Also, the company signed licensing ventures last year for a bridal collection with Carmela Sutera and a home furnishings line with Century Furniture, so another licensing deal is also a strong possibility.
De la Renta has spoken frequently of opening a store on Madison Avenue in New York and is expected to open a shop in 2005 in Las Vegas at a new luxury hotel property and casino being developed by Steve Wynn. Expanding the designer’s in-store shop in Bergdorf Goodman and renovating its boutique in Saks Fifth Avenue are other projects on the designer’s to-do list.Currently, the accessories collection — featuring embellished shoes, handbags and belts — is the firm’s fastest-growing sector and was launched in-house in 2001. The company also recently revamped its entire showroom and office space at 550 Seventh Avenue in a $1.5 million renovation project.
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