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LONDON — Ulrik Garde Due has been named chief executive officer of Temperley London, WWD has learned. An announcement is expected today.
Garde Due was formerly ceo of Georg Jensen, which was sold to Investcorp last year for $140 million. Before that, he was a senior vice president at Burberry, part of the team led by Rose Marie Bravo that kick-started the brand’s relaunch and took it public in 2002.
In an interview, Garde Due said he took the Temperley job because of the label’s potential for growth.
“There is so much opportunity: Alice is a star. You can see her creativity, she’s young and quite unique,” he said, adding that the plan is to position Temperley as a lifestyle brand with new product categories, partnerships and beefed-up distribution.
“We need a more commercial mind-set, with more range planning, and we need to build volume,” he said, adding that it was too early to give any specific details about the company’s strategy. He said the U.S., Continental Europe and Southeast Asia were among the regions where the brand was looking to expand.
Garde Due also said that he would seek to strengthen the bond between online and offline sales. In July, Temperley relaunched its Web site, and the designer said that sales are growing 100 percent month-on-month.
The brand currently has three collections: Temperley London, which will show on Sept. 15 during London Fashion Week; a second line called Alice By Temperley, and a bridal collection.
The designer also has a line called Somerset, which sells exclusively through British retailer John Lewis. The label has a flagship on London’s Bruton Street and stores in Los Angeles, Qatar and Dubai. Wholesale accounts include Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus Direct and Saks Direct.
Garde Due replaces Lars von Bennigsen, Alice Temperley’s husband, who had served as ceo since the couple founded the company in 2000. Von Bennigsen remains a member of the board.
Temperley said, “It was time to bring in someone to take us to the next stages and to help us better focus our efforts.”
As part of the overall upgrading of the business, Temperley said that her Notting Hill headquarters — where the bridal salon is located — is undergoing renovation to look more like her Bruton Street flagship.
“The whole place has been stripped back: It’s more polished and chic. And there will be much more synergy with this store,” she said, referring to the Georgian building that’s filled with antiques hand-picked by the designer and Art Deco style clothing rails and fixtures.
The Notting Hill building will reopen in October.