NEW YORK — Coach Inc., the $2.9 billion accessories brand, has tapped Christian Dior’s former U.S. president, Patricia Malone, to be senior vice president of merchandising.

This story first appeared in the March 28, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Malone will start in her newly created position on Monday, reporting to Jody Kuss, executive vice president of worldwide merchandising.

Before being named U.S. president and chief operating officer at Christian Dior in 2006, Malone was president and chief executive officer of Gucci America from 1997 to 2005, directing the wholesale and retail businesses in North and South America. She began working at Gucci in 1985, and then was merchandise manager at Fendi USA before returning to Gucci in 1994.

Kuss said Malone brings a “unique aesthetic and personal style to Coach” and will be a strong asset “as we strengthen our capability to bring more sophisticated and elevated product to the marketplace.”

Malone said she was looking forward to helping build on a strong foundation at Coach.

“The key to Coach’s success lies in its proposition of innovation and relevance,” she said. “Today, the company is accelerating at the pace of innovation, delivering an increased level of distinctive newness to their consumers.”