LONDON — In a pivotal year for the company, Victoria Beckham Ltd. has named industry expert Ralph Toledano as chairman, with immediate effect.
Toledano, a Frenchman who has managed brands including Guy Laroche and Chloé, and who is president of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, will work closely with the team on the creative vision and help to prepare the business for its next phase of growth.
Beckham said Toledano brings “unrivaled industry experience. Since I founded the company 10 years ago, I have always looked to bring on board the best people to help me deliver my vision.”
Beckham is marking 10 years in business this year, and plans to celebrate with a spring 2019 show at London Fashion Week in September. The company also plans to mark the anniversary with other initiatives throughout the year, including special pieces and activations. Last month, during New York Fashion Week, Beckham showed her fall collection with intimate presentations on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, recalling the early appointments she held in N.Y. for the then-fledgling business.
Last December, the company received a 30 million pounds investment from NEO Investment Partners, and Toledano’s appointment is the first major management move since then.
David Belhassen, founder and managing partner of NEO Investment Partners, said: “Ralph will partner with shareholders to steer the brand through the next phase. His vision and experience, coupled with Victoria’s innovative approach to fashion, is a powerful partnership and will enable the company to realize its strong growth ambitions.”
Toledano called Beckham “an artist, designer and entrepreneur who remains driven in her ambition for her brand. She is at the forefront of the shifting and increasingly digital fashion landscape and, having established her brand vision over the past decade, is now uniquely positioned to communicate this vision directly to her customers.”
He added that his ambition is to turn the brand into a modern luxury group.
Toledano was most recently president of Puig Group’s fashion division and has run companies including Karl Lagerfeld’s namesake brand, Guy Laroche and Chloé, where he named Phoebe Philo artistic director following Stella McCartney’s exit. He has also served as chairman of St. John.
In 2016, Toledano was re-elected president of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode. He has held the post since 2014, when he succeeded Didier Grumbach, who remains honorary president.
Victoria Beckham Ltd. said that with Toledano in place, it is planning for further geographical expansion, particularly in Asia, a focus on direct-to-consumer sales and a review of the cost base to return the company to profitability.
As reported, global revenues for the year ending December 2016 were 36 million pounds, while losses grew to 8.5 million pounds from 4.76 million in 2015, due to investments in design, marketing and sales, the company said. In the first half of 2017, revenues grew in the double digits.
The investment from NEO has been earmarked to enhance digital and physical retail presence, drive growth in core categories and launch into new categories and collaborations. The company said it plans to move to new west London premises in the spring.
The brand currently produces the main line Victoria Beckham, a sister line called Victoria Victoria Beckham, accessories, footwear and eyewear. It operates a flagship store at 36 Dover Street, London, and another store in Hong Kong with the Joyce Lane Crawford group and retails through 400 stockists and in more than 50 countries.
Over the years, Beckham has partnered with retailers and brands including Target, The Estée Lauder Cos., and Reebok.