NEW YORK — Less than a month after Gemina SpA, the investment company owned by the Fiat industrial group, acquired GFT SpA, Giulio Salvi has been named president and chief executive officer of GFT USA Corp., its U.S. arm, effective Jan. 1.
He succeeds Leopoldo Borzino, who held this post since 1989 and resigned after 33 years with the Turin-based GFT SpA, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of designer-label apparel.
Salvi, who had been the number two executive at GFT USA since 1992, was executive vice president and chief operating officer. He joined the company as executive vice president and chief financial officer. This past summer, he was promoted to chief operating officer.
Prior to that, Salvi was president of Olivetti USA, which manufactures manual and electronic office equipment and cash registers.
Commenting Thursday on his leaving, Borzino said, “My contractual obligations have ended. I accomplished the goal that I was originally assigned.”
Borzino noted he had a five-year contract with GFT. He said Gruppo GFT offered him a new contract, but he wanted “to start something fresh.”
Borzino said he would pursue other interests and would most likely remain in the U.S. One area that interests him is helping American companies develop European business.
As reported, early this month Gemina SpA, a Fiat investment group, beat out a last-minute bid by rival CVC Capital Partners to acquire Gruppo GFT. The purchase price was about $375 million. The deal capped almost two years of tumultuous negotiations to rescue the financially troubled GFT, which produces apparel for such top labels as Valentino, Giorgio Armani, Claude Montana, Emanuel Ungaro and Calvin Klein.
Borzino noted that during his five-year tenure at GFT USA, its volume doubled to about $360 million, accounting for 40 percent of GFT SpA sales.
“We’ve been profitable the last couple of years, which has helped the parent company’s turnaround. We have a strong management team in place,” said Borzino.
Among his accomplishments, he noted, was diversifying the company into other price ranges.
“Originally, we were just positioned in the top end of the market,” said Borzino. “Today, we have a much more differentiated business in the bridge and designer areas, which has enabled us to acquire a much broader base.”
Borzino noted that some of the strong areas have been Giorgio Armani, as well as the newer businesses such as Emanuel, a bridge sportswear line for women, and Calvin Klein men’s tailored clothing.
Maura deVisscher, president of Emanuel, said, “For me, he was a really great supporter of Emanuel, and he was a great guy to work for. He always supported the business.”