It’s a new era for Adam Lippes.
Lippes has named Michelle Gaster Wasserman, who most recently led the North America e-commerce business for Coach Inc., as his company’s new chief executive officer.
Gaster Wasserman succeeds former ceo Donata Minelli, who joined the luxury brand in May 2014 after serving as an adviser to Lippes and has exited the role to spend time with her family and explore new avenues. She and Lippes searched together extensively for a successor. “She was instrumental in setting up the foundation of the brand and its processes,” Lippes said of Minelli.
Gaster Wasserman began her career at Bergdorf Goodman as a buyer for the European couture division, and during her six years at Coach focused on the direct-to-consumer arena, a retail channel Lippes hopes to amp up. “I wanted to find somebody who understood and was enthusiastic about luxury product and what that means, but who also didn’t come from the more traditional luxury fashion avenues,” Lippes said. “I think that we can all agree that there is a seismic shift in how we are doing business today, and I wanted to find a new thinker…someone to come in and rethink how we market and sell our product. In Michelle, we found that.”
Noting Gaster Wasserman’s digital marketing prowess, Lippes cited brand awareness as one of the key challenges for growth. In addition to e-commerce and global retail partners including Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf’s, Net-a-porter, Kirna Zabête, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, Lippes said he hopes to ultimately open multiple freestanding stores. “We are certainly moving towards that,” he said.