MILAN — Italian jewelry firm Gruppo Damiani has tapped Jérôme Favier as its new chief executive officer, charged with reorganizing the company’s structure and strengthening the brand in Italy and outside the country. This is a new position.

Damiani is publicly listed in Milan and led by the third generation of the founding family: Guido is president, and Giorgio and Silvia Damiani are vice presidents.

Favier first worked in executive positions at Danone and Unilever until 1994, when he joined Compagnie Financière Richemont SA, with a focus on Cartier and Jaeger-LeCoultre strategies.

Founded in 1924, Damiani today controls the namesake brand, the Salvini and Bliss labels; Calderoni, which dates back to 1840; Rocca, founded in 1794, and glass firm Venini.

The group closed the fiscal year ended March 31 with a net loss of 4 million euros compared with a loss of 5.5 million euros in the previous year, on sales of 164 million euros, a 1.6 percent increase. At constant exchange rates, revenues grew 3.1 percent. The retail channel drove this growth, climbing 12.9 percent to 86.4 million euros and accounting for almost 53 percent of total. The wholesale channel showed a 8.7 percent decrease to 77.6 million euros.

Italy remained the core market for Damiani, contributing with sales of 112.1 million euros, down 1.9 percent compared with the previous fiscal year, while sales outside the country rose 9.9 percent to 52.2 million euros. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization grew 24.1 percent to 5.3 million euros benefitting from non-recurring gains of 1.5 million euros. Net of this, the group would have registered a 93 percent increase in EBITDA.

The company counts 800 employees in 17 international branches, 49 boutiques and 1,500 wholesale accounts. Last year, Damiani opened boutiques in Tokyo’s Ginza Six, at Plaza 66 in Shanghai, at Dubai Mall in Dubai, in Singapore and in South Korea.

As reported, last week Damiani said it was acquiring the former exhibition center Palafiere in Valenza, located in Italy’s northern Piedmont region, with the goal to turn it into a new production pole. Financial terms of the deal include an investment of about 8 million euros for the acquisition of the structure. Established a decade ago, the 129,167-square-foot venue used to host jewelry trade shows before being abandoned. A hub for jewelry companies, Valenza is also the town where the company’s founder Enrico Grassi Damiani opened the firm’s first laboratory in 1924. The new manufacturing pole is expected to open in 2021.

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