By  on January 28, 2011

The Tommy Hilfiger Group has appointed Steve Shen chief executive officer of Tommy Hilfiger China.

This move follows the group’s decision last March to assume direct control of Hilfiger’s wholesale and retail distribution in China from its licensee Dickson Concepts (International) Ltd. The takeover of the business is scheduled to take place in the second half of this year.

Shen was a member of the founding management team for Esprit in China, working the past eight years as Esprit’s general manager based in Shanghai.

In his new role, Shen will report to Fred Gehring, ceo of the Tommy Hilfiger Group.

“In anticipation of our takeover of the Chinese business in the second half of this year, Steve’s appointment is the first and most critical step to ensure a smooth transition,” said Gehring. “China holds significant opportunities for our brand, and Steve’s very relevant experience and entrepreneurial approach will be instrumental in establishing Tommy Hilfiger as a leading premium lifestyle brand in this important market.” Acknowledging that it was premature to discuss any concrete expansion plans in the region at this point,he told WWD, “We are fully immersed in plans for the takeover in late 2011.”

Dickson has been Hilfiger’s licensee in Southeast Asia since 1997, and that deal was expected to continue until 2014. Instead, the Hong Kong-based firm will act as licensee for the brand in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia until 2019. Hilfiger’s presence in China includes 24 stores or concessions operated by Dickson and 77 run by local franchisees.

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