LONDON — Manolo Blahnik is on the move.
A week after revealing the purchase of its Italian footwear manufacturer, Manolo Blahnik International Ltd. has named company insider Andrew Wright president of its North American operations.
The house will bring its business in the region under direct control beginning Jan. 1, following the split with its long-term licensee George Malkemus, president of Manolo Blahnik USA, and Anthony Yurgaitis, vice president of the company.
Since 2017, Wright has been responsible for the commercial and merchandising strategies across the wholesale and retail operations at Manolo Blahnik, and will be looking at the North American business through that lens, the London-based company said.
An announcement is expected on Friday.
Previously, Wright held executive and management positions at Polo Ralph Lauren, Bamford and Louis Vuitton, and “has a strong understanding of the commercial and business specificities of the North American luxury market,” according to the company.
Kristina Blahnik, chief executive officer of Manolo Blahnik International Ltd., described Wright as a talented executive and a proven leader.
“We have strong ambitions for our North American operations and are delighted to appoint someone of his caliber to this important position, especially as he comes from within the company. It demonstrates the depth and quality of management talent we have within the business,” she said.
Wright said Manolo Blahnik’s North American clientele “is among the most discerning and knowledgeable in terms of both product and design. I am looking forward to building the team and infrastructure to ensure that we exceed expectations when we take up the reins of our North American business.”
Wright will retain his global responsibilities as the company’s chief commercial officer and be joined in New York by his colleague Bruno Oghittu, the company’s chief digital and logistics officer.
In April, the company vowed to put “significant strategic investment” behind its North American operations as it prepared to take control of business in the region after 37 years.
At the time, Kristina Blahnik said she was looking forward to what lies ahead. “These are very exciting times for Manolo Blahnik. The U.S. and Canada are a core part of our business, which we are fully committed to.”
The footwear and accessories firm has made other senior appointments in the Americas, with immediate effect.
They include Marta Minchiotti as vice president sales and merchandising. She has held senior management roles at brands including Roger Vivier, Tod’s, Celine, Givenchy and Marc Jacobs, building up expertise in commercial, merchandising, marketing and product development functions.
Gregory Schmitt will take on the role of vice president, finance, having spent a decade at Chanel’s global headquarters in New York, a year at Cartier North America and more than four years consulting for smaller luxury startups in the U.S. and Europe.
Herin Rodriguez, vice president, operations, has worked with Manolo Blahnik for 16 years in the U.S. and will take on all key operations for the North American market. Rodriquez started his career in 1991 at Giorgio Armani.
Stella Letta has been named vice president, people and culture. Her career in human resources began with Giorgio Armani and she has held similar roles at Escada, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Jimmy Choo USA. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the fashion luxury goods industries, working with top management.
The Italian factory purchase, new appointments and the reorganization of the North American business are part of a wider strategy aimed at priming the brand for further growth.
“In 2016, we initiated a strategy to develop the foundations of Manolo Blahnik, future-proof our supply chain and allow greater freedom for customization and special exclusives,” said Kristina Blahnik. “Additionally, as we take on responsibility for the North American market, we are adopting a more dynamic and reactive business model.”