Michael Kors said Monday that it has hired Cedric Wilmotte for the newly created post of senior vice president of European operations.

The European market is a priority for Kors, which plans to significantly expand its global retail reach and wholesale presence by opening freestanding stores and concept shops, and expanding into more specialty stores. The company also plans to open a European headquarters, which will include a press office and showroom, in Milan early next year.

When Wilmotte joins the company March 17, he will report to John D. Idol, chief executive officer of Michael Kors Inc., and will be responsible for all retail and wholesale for Europe and the Middle East.

A 10-year industry veteran, Wilmotte was most recently European sales director for Marc Jacobs in charge of running the European wholesale division. Prior to joining Marc Jacobs in 2004, Wilmotte spent six years at Donna Karan, where he worked his way up the corporate ladder to European director of DKNY women’s and men’s wear.

“We are pleased to have someone with Cedric’s experience and business acumen join our team. He has a proven track record of tremendous success in the European market which is a major priority for our company,” Idol said.

This story first appeared in the March 4, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.