NEW YORK — Polo Ralph Lauren named Brian Duffy as president and chief operating officer of Polo Europe on Tuesday, filling the Geneva-based position that has been vacant since December with a veteran from Sara Lee Corp.

Duffy was chief executive officer and corporate vice president of Sara Lee Courtaulds, a division of Sara Lee, in London, where he was responsible for about $1 billion in annual sales. At Polo, he reports to Lance Isham, vice chairman of Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., and is responsible for all of Polo Europe’s day-to-day operations.

He replaces Gian Luigi Longinotti-Buitoni, who left the company six months ago, a Polo spokeswoman said.

“Brian is a talented and creative executive with a tremendous depth of management experience,” Isham said in a statement. “His broad-based business expertise and his international perspective will strengthen our management team and support our growing European business.”

Duffy had joined Playtex in 1983 as U.K. finance director and was promoted to European finance director in 1989. After its acquisition by Sara Lee in 1991, Duffy became ceo of Playtex the following year and Pretty Polly U.K. in 1995. He was promoted to ceo of Sara Lee Legwear Europe in 1998, then to his most recent title in 1999.

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