MILAN — Versace, which is implementing an industrial plan to cut costs and trim losses, appointed a interim chief executive to carry out that mission.

Versace tapped Fabio Massimo Cacciatori as interim ceo to replace Giovanni Galbiati. Galbiati, a longtime Versace employee, resigned in March for what a company spokesman characterized as “personal reasons.”

It is unclear how long Cacciatori will serve in this position.

Cacciatori joined Versace’s board in June, when that body also was expanded to include Luxottica ceo Leonardo Del Vecchio. Cacciatori is also ceo of A&G Consulting, the firm that helped Versace develop and carry out its new industrial plan.

That blueprint, covering everything from advertising and manufacturing to retailing and licensing, aims to boost efficiencies and return Versace to the black. Versace recently cut 15 jobs in the U.S. to reduce expenses, and it also has eliminated office space. Versace posted a net loss of $6.6 million, or 5.8 million euros, converted at current exchange, in the year ended Dec. 31, 2002, compared with a profit of $8.3 million, or 7.3 million euros, in 2001.

The state of Versace’s business has generated considerable local press. In June, Santo Versace, president and co-chairman of his family’s company, threatened to sue weekly magazine Il Mondo over an article stating that auditors were concerned with the company’s books and its ability to pay back a 100 million euro bond that expires in July 2004.

Versace claims the report was false. Friday, however, it did confirm it is seeking a fresh bank loan to help pay back the bonds.

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