Eraldo Poletto has made a leap from a classic Italian footwear brand to a classic American one — jumping to chief executive officer and president of Stuart Weitzman from his former position as ceo of Salvatore Ferragamo SpA.
Poletto will begin his new job on April 30 and will report to Victor Luis, ceo of Weitzman’s parent Tapestry Inc., and will work closely with Weitzman’s creative director, Giovanni Morelli. He succeeds Wendy Kahn, who is leaving the company after serving as Weitzman’s ceo since September 2016.
Poletto stepped down suddenly at Ferragamo in February after less than two years as ceo as the Italian fashion house encountered slower growth and some turmoil in its design studio. Ferragamo is still seeking a full-time ceo.
At Ferragamo, Poletto aimed to reinvigorate the late founder’s original modernity, harmonizing everything with marketing and merchandising, and saw potential in the brand’s leather-goods division, striving to create an iconic bag, such as the Thalia model.
He also believed there was growth potential in the firm’s small leather goods business, given the company’s solid and global travel retail network, which he was planning to further develop, seeing opportunities in the textile accessories division, too. He called himself a retailer and was focused on reviewing the brand’s network of stores without changing the concept of the locations, but making adjustments on the layout or the design, all intended to improve functionality and performance. He wanted to simplify the collections and he pushed forward the launch of a new website to make it more functional and capable of being used as a social media tool.
One of Poletto’s first decisions at Ferragamo was to name a trifecta of designers rather than one single creative director, in the wake of Massimiliano Giornetti’s exit in March 2016. Poletto opted to appoint Paul Andrew, Fulvio Rigoni and Guillaume Meilland in charge of women’s shoes, women’s ready-to-wear and men’s rtw, respectively. That strategy resulted in a muddled brand message, however, and last October, Rigoni exited the company, following a mixed response to his designs. Andrew was charged with the women’s wear rtw collections as well as shoes, while Meilland continues to oversee men’s wear.
Prior to Ferragamo, Poloetto served as ceo of Furla from 2010 to 2016 and helped grow and globalize that family-owned brand. From 1997 to 2010, he served in a variety of roles at Retail Brand Alliance, the parent of Brooks Brothers, including as president of strategic development and international business and chief merchandising officer.
“Stuart Weitzman is at important point in the brand’s evolution with the upcoming launch of Giovanni’s first collection and the recent buyback of its Northern China business, taking greater control of the brand’s destiny through an increased level of direct ownership. In Eraldo, we have found a leader who, over the last 30 years, has acquired both the global luxury experience and deep understanding of iconic brands to drive results” said Luis. “He brings a proven, successful track record in building and engaging teams and in developing and maximizing international growth across all fashion categories.”
Tapestry gave no reason for Kahn’s departure, but Luis in a statement said, “We have great appreciation for Wendy’s accomplishments and her leadership has been instrumental to the development of Stuart Weitzman during our integration period. We wish her every success in the future and look forward to welcoming Eraldo.”