LONDON — Paolo Riva has been named chief executive officer of Victoria Beckham Ltd. in a landmark year for the brand as it marks a decade in business.
Riva, the former ceo of Diane von Furstenberg Studio and the founder of an eponymous consultancy based in New York, will take up the role left vacant by Zach Duane last year. Riva will join the company on Sept. 1 and will report to the board of directors.
An announcement is expected today.
The company said Riva will work closely with Victoria Beckham, founder and creative director of VBL, and the board to drive strategic geographical and product expansion “and help with the realization of the company’s direct-to-consumer ambitions.”
“The Victoria Beckham brand presents a unique and exciting opportunity — no one has been better than Victoria at embracing the digital revolution and using it to influence tastes by channeling her vision direct to consumers,” said Riva. “I am looking forward to working with Victoria and her team as we continue to develop a pioneering, consumer-led business.”
Beckham noted that Riva’s arrival comes in the wake of an investment from NEO Investment Partners last year “and the arrival of Ralph Toledano, who joined us this spring as chairman. [Riva] joins the team as we enter our second decade and his wealth of experience, drive and creativity will be fundamental in helping us continue our expansion as a global brand,” she said.
Before joining DVF in 2015, Riva was vice president of apparel and visual merchandising for Tory Burch LLC, where he worked for nearly three years. The Italian-born executive brings extensive experience in finance as well as global merchandising, marketing and product development to VBL, having also served as worldwide product marketing and merchandising director at Valentino, and head of the ladies’ shoes business unit at Salvatore Ferragamo. He holds a master’s from Bocconi University in Milan.
Riva is widely considered to be a fast-rising management star. At DVF, he tried to foster a sense of community among staff, and opened up channels of communication internally. He also focused his attention on Millennials and how they evaluate their work environment. At DVF he also created the Culture Club, which allowed employees to organize activities such as happy hour, yoga nights and an external speakers program.
Riva’s appointment comes just a few months after Beckham named industry veteran Toledano as chairman, following a 30 million pounds investment last December from NEO.
Toledano has said his ambition is to turn VBL into a modern luxury group, and with Toledano in place the company 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.
Toledano described Riva as “smart, professional, strategic and the kind of person who sticks to his guns. But he also listens, and he clearly loves fashion and product. More importantly, he has the reputation of being a great leader, which is very important for this company.”
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.
As reported, NEO’s investment has been earmarked to enhance digital and physical retail presence, drive growth in core categories and launch into new categories and collaborations. The company has also moved to new west London premises in Hammersmith.
The brand produces the main Victoria Beckham collection, a sister line called Victoria Victoria Beckham, accessories, footwear and eyewear. It operates a flagship store at 36 Dover Street in London, and another store in Hong Kong with the Joyce Lane Crawford Group. It wholesales through 400 doors and in more than 50 countries, including in Asia, which is a key focus area for the company.
Over the years, Beckham has partnered with retailers and brands including Target, The Estée Lauder Cos., and Reebok.
For the 10-year anniversary, Beckham 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, including special pieces and activations.
During New York Fashion Week in February, Beckham showed her fall collection with intimate presentations on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, recalling the early appointments she held in New York for the then-fledgling business.