Bruno Sälzer

Escada's longtime ceo has acquired a 15 percent stake in the young fashion brand.

BERLIN — Escada chief executive officer Bruno Sälzer has acquired a 15 percent stake in Bench and is to become the fashion brand’s ceo and chairman.

This story first appeared in the July 1, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

In February, Sälzer made it known he would be leaving Escada when his contract expires on Nov. 30. He has been at the helm of the Munich fashion house since 2008. The search for his successor continues.

Prior to Escada, Sälzer spent 14 years at Hugo Boss, where he assumed the ceo post in 2002. At Bench, he takes over from cfo Paul Masters, who was serving as interim ceo.

Founded in Manchester in 1987, Bench was acquired in February by Munich-based Emeram Urbanics Holding Ltd. from private equity firm Hg Capital.

Bench generated sales of 100 million euros, or $132.8 million at average exchange, in 2013, plus additional licensing revenues of about 50 million euros, or $66.4 million.

The casual lifestyle brand is targeted at men and women ages 20 to 30 and is sold in 26 countries in Europe and North America. Its largest markets are Great Britain, Germany and Canada, the latter as a license.

Sälzer remarked that the brand’s target group “is of increasing importance for the fashion industry. What is important for me is that I am able to have a long-term entrepreneurial stake in Bench.”

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