NEW YORK — Ari Hoffman has been named president and chief executive officer of Benetton’s U.S. operations.

This story first appeared in the February 16, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

He succeeds Carlo Tunioli, who had been president and will now become senior vice president of communications for North America.

Hoffman served as ceo of Gant USA from 2000 until this past October, when he was named ceo of Gant Latin America. He oversaw the Latin American business, as well as Canada and Japan, two regions he had also headed as ceo of Gant USA. During his tenure at Gant, Hoffman is credited with bringing the preppy brand back to a healthy position in the marketplace. He added three stores in the New York area — Gant Rugger concepts on Bleecker Street and Prince Street, and a New Haven college store, in addition to its existing Fifth Avenue flagship. Hoffman also spearheaded the launch of the Gant by Michael Bastian collaboration, which was introduced in fall 2010.

Hoffman couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday. A spokesman for Benetton in Treviso, Italy, confirmed Hoffman’s appointment.

As reported earlier this month, the Benetton family has confirmed that its Edizione Srl holding company will launch a tender offer and delist Italian clothing and textile manufacturer Benetton Group. Benetton, which went public in 1986, is a small part of Edizione’s holdings that range from highway catering and communications to real estate and agriculture.

Benetton became well known for stirring controversy in the Eighties and Nineties when it mixed political messages with selling clothes. Working with photographer Oliviero Toscani, Benetton broke ground with provocative ad campaigns showing, for example, a man dying of AIDS or a nun kissing a priest on the lips.

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