NEW YORK — Gianluca Flore, former chief executive officer of La Perla USA, has been named chief executive officer of Fendi North America Inc., WWD has learned.

The post has been vacant for about a year.

WWD reported earlier this month that Fendi was about to tap Flore as its new U.S. chief.

Neither Flore nor officials at the U.S. Fendi offices here could be reached for comment late Tuesday. But a source familiar with the negotiations between Flore and the Rome-based Fendi company, said, “He left La Perla on Sept. 5 and started as ceo of the U.S. Fendi operation this week. He’s in Rome right now, getting acclimated with the Fendi corporate culture.”

Since 2000, Flore had been ceo of La Perla USA, the American unit of the $250 million parent Gruppo La Perla, a Bologna, Italy-based manufacturer of luxury lingerie and ready-to-wear. He joined La Perla in 1998 as vice president. A successor has not yet been named, but the company is “actively looking,” said Sarah J. Saatchi, director of the retail division for La Perla USA.

Flore, regarded as an innovator in both the upscale retail and wholesale fashion fields, is responsible for opening several freestanding La Perla shops in the U.S. La Perla opened a shop in 2002 at 93 Greene Street in SoHo that generates annual sales in excess of $1.5 million. It opened a second shop in March in Manhattan’s trendy Meatpacking District, at 425 West 14th Street, that is projected to generate first-year sales of $500,000 and which showcases the firm’s newest contemporary brand, La Perla Black Label. And this past Saturday, La Perla unveiled a 3,000-square-foot flagship at 803 Madison Avenue here. Overall, La Perla’s retail and wholesale businesses in the U.S. generated combined annual sales of $23 million, Flore said earlier this year.

— Karyn Monget

This story first appeared in the September 22, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.