Isabelle Guichot

PARIS — French apparel company SMCP Group has named Isabelle Guichot chief executive officer of the fashion brand Maje, WWD has learned, signaling the company’s intention to step up business abroad.

Guichot, who has headed brands at luxury behemoths Kering and Compagnie Financière Richemont including Sergio Rossi shoes and high-end jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels, was ceo of Balenciaga for nearly a decade, at a time of international growth. She was succeeded as Balenciaga ceo in December by Cédric Charbit.

SMCP ceo Daniel Lalonde cited Guichot’s experience in the luxury sphere, saying that the choice reflected “our ambition to spread Parisian chic across the world.”

Sales in France accounted for around 46 percent of group revenue last year. Alongside Maje, which generates nearly 40 percent of group revenues, are two other French labels: Sandro and Claudie Pierlot. The group has been expanding rapidly in recent years, and clocked sales growth of over 16 percent last year.

RELATED STORY: Sandro, Maje Group Says Sales Rose 16.4% in 2016 >>

SMCP is owned by Shandong Ruyi Technology Group, a Chinese conglomerate with significant operations in textiles. The Chinese firm acquired SMCP last October, with SMCP’s founders and management also reinvesting as minority stakeholders, along with former owner KKR. The deal was estimated at 1.3 billion euros, including debt. In June, the company said it plans to list on the French stock market, with its Chinese owner remaining the majority shareholder.

Shandong Ruyi Group has said it plans to ramp up global expansion of Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot, particularly in Asia.

At Maje, Guichot succeeds Sylvie Colin, who has headed the brand for nearly three years. Guichot will take a seat on the company’s executive committee and her appointment is effective Sept. 18.

Maje was founded in 1998 by Judith Milgrom. Her sister Evelyne Chetrite created the Sandro label in 1984.

RELATED STORY: SMCP Brings ‘Parisian Chic’ to the World >>