PARIS — Moving quickly to jump start Fendi, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is about to name Michael Burke, managing director at Christian Dior, as the new president and chief executive of the Rome-based house.
WWD has learned that Burke, who has worked at Dior in New York and Paris since the mid-Eighties, will succeed Giancarlo Di Risio. An official announcement is expected this week.
Di Risio, who joined Fendi in January 2002 from jeans and diffusion specialist IT Holding, is expected to exit LVMH.
Di Risio’s future at the group has been in question since May, when LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault appointed Dior president Sidney Toledano, one of the chief architects of its expansion drive, to oversee Fendi’s business strategy and develop synergies with Dior.
It is understood that Burke will continue to report to Toledano, who still oversees Dior.
Long a key Arnault protégé, Burke started his career with the French business titan in 1980, working at various of his holdings before joining Dior in the U.S., ultimately becoming president. He was president of Louis Vuitton’s U.S. operations for four years before returning to Paris in 1997 as Dior’s executive vice president. Burke was named managing director, the number-two position at Dior, in March 1998.
Burke’s appointment is the latest move by Arnault to get a tighter grip on Fendi. Earlier this year, LVMH spent $218.5 million for an additional 17.2 percent stake in the Italian company, upping its overall holding to 84.1 percent. LVMH and Prada Group jointly acquired 51 percent of Fendi in 1999, with LVMH buying Prada’s stake in November 2001. It also has been buying out shares held by Fendi family members.
Toledano has yet to articulate his strategy for Fendi, but it centers on leveraging the house’s leather and fur expertise, along with ready-to-wear by Karl Lagerfeld.
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