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Elie Tahari Makes Three Key Hires

Company taps Stephen Budd, Debbie Elmore and Michael Celestino to boost its sales division.

NEW YORK — Elie Tahari’s hiring spree continues.

After tapping Ingo Wilts as creative director of women’s and men’s design last month, Elie Tahari Ltd. made three senior appointments to boost its sales division.

Tahari named Stephen Budd president of wholesale, effective July 23. Budd, who was previously group president at BCBG Max Azria Group in Los Angeles, will oversee the wholesale expansion of women’s, men’s and accessories for the company’s brands, as well as help shape their future strategies. Budd, who is succeeding Helaine Elias, will report to Elie Tahari, who serves as chairman and chief executive officer. “I admire how Stephen has grown each of the businesses he has run and look forward to the insight he will bring to the brand,” Tahari said.

The company also tapped Debbie Elmore as president of T Tahari wholesale, a newly created role for the contemporary division. Elmore was previously DKNY Jeans’ senior vice president of merchandising and product development, and, before that, served as president of DKNY Jeans when it was still a licensed division of Liz Claiborne Inc. Tahari and Elmore have known each other since her days as a buyer for Macy’s, when she bought Tahari for the department store chain. He added that T Tahari now represents one-third of the company’s business, and is “poised to be even bigger than Elie Tahari [Collection].

“This is a first for us in T Tahari but as that division has continued to expand, we thought it was important to have someone solely focused on that business,” he added. Elmore will report to Budd.

Additionally, Tahari also announced the hiring of Michael Celestino as president of retail, confirming a WWD report late last month. Celestino, a 20-year veteran of Barneys New York who exited the retailer last year as executive vice president of store operations, will oversee Tahari’s network of 32 stores nationwide. “We started with seven stores a few years ago, it’s 32 stores today and we want to take it to 100 stores worldwide,” Tahari said, explaining the appointment of Celestino, who succeeded Lorraine Oddo. Celestino also reports to Tahari.

“We are preparing the foundation for growth,” Tahari said of the hires across divisions. “They all grew to be separate businesses. T Tahari is doing well, so we needed to split that and put a new and fresh team on it. Each area now is poised to independently be able to grow.”