MILAN — Italian eyewear manufacturer Safilo Group has appointed Stephen Wright chief commercial officer of Safilo North America, effective June 19. He will succeed Henri Blomqvist, who has led the development of the North American market for the past two years.
Wright was previously president of VSP Global Omni-Channel Solutions. Safilo can rely on the American executive’s experience in the eyewear industry, as he has held the role of president of Altair Eyewear and was also senior vice president of the Americas for Marchon Eyewear, part of the VSP Global group, too.
Angelo Trocchia, chief executive officer of Safilo Group, said the U.S. is “a historical market for Safilo and we were intent on selecting a leader with a deep knowledge of the specific market needs, able to work hand in hand with all of our different customers.” This is one of the first decisions made by Trocchia, who joined Safilo in April from Unilever, succeeding Luisa Delgado. “We want to be closer and closer to the market, to better understand what is truly relevant for our local consumers, capitalizing more on our strong brand portfolio and on our independent business approach.”
Earlier this month the company — which produces frames under license for brands including Dior, Givenchy, Fendi and Marc Jacobs as well as its own brands Safilo, Carrera and Smith — said it had recovered from problems with the implementation of a new information system rolled out at the Padua, Italy, distribution center in the first quarter of 2017. As reported, in the first three months ended March 31, Safilo’s sales were up 6.9 percent at current exchange rates to 250.9 million euros. At constant exchange rates, sales rose 15.4 percent. The group has been building its brand portfolio after the loss of the Gucci license, as that brand’s collections are now produced by Kering Eyewear. For example, Safilo has just launched the Rag & Bone collection of eyewear, to “a very good acceptance in the U.S. and abroad,” said the company, which is also preparing for the unveiling of the Rebecca Minkoff eyewear collection that is expected to hit the market from fall 2018.