MILAN — Former Chanel global chief executive officer Maureen Chiquet will be named chairman of Golden Goose next month, signaling the brand’s intention to further develop its U.S. market.
The appointment is expected to be finalized after the closing of the sale of the Italian brand to Permira, expected on June 10. Chiquet succeeds Patrizio di Marco, who remains a coinvestor in the label.
“Under Patrizio’s watch, in two years Golden Goose doubled its revenues to 280 million euros and its EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization] climbed to 76 million euros from 48 million euros, growing the number of stores to 100 from 40, successfully internalizing its online channel and launching an accessories category,” ceo Silvio Campara told WWD in an exclusive interview with di Marco.
He touted the latter’s decision to reinvest in the company, which shows his belief in the label’s untapped potential. “I want to thank Patrizio, on behalf of the company, too, for being an inexhaustible source of inspiration, and for having known how to interpret the brand and transmit his passion for Golden Goose,” continued Campara.
At the same time, the executive said he was “happy to welcome Maureen Chiquet, looking forward to new and important challenges. Through her expansive experience in luxury she will further support our long-term strategy, which sees Golden Goose positioning itself more and more in the iconic luxury range. She will support us in the development of our business in the U.S., which is our first market and she will help strengthen our online business.”
Chiquet will continue to be based in New York. Campara said “one of our ambitions is to list the company in New York.”
Chiquet, who exited Chanel in 2016, began her career with L’Oréal in France, later moved to San Francisco and rose through the ranks at The Gap as a merchant under the tutelage of Millard “Mickey” Drexler. She also helped launch Old Navy and was president of Banana Republic before being recruited for the Chanel post in 2003. Her decades-long business career in retail is the subject of her memoir-style book “Beyond the Label: Women, Leadership and Success on Our Own Terms,” published in 2017.
“I can’t think of a better person than Maureen, she is a formidable executive and a beautiful person,” said di Marco. “This has been a wonderful experience, a great adventure. The dedication, enthusiasm and the ideas have made this company big, the value of the people here is enormous,” he said, citing Campara’s “volcanic personality, he is full of ideas, passion and enthusiasm,” as well as general director Danilo Piarulli, and “the third musketeer,” chief supply and chief operating officer Sandro Baggiani.
“I was incredibly and positively impacted by their professional skills and they are all great people and a pleasure to work with. Every year at Golden Goose is like a dog year, so much has been achieved and even in this difficult period, impacted by the coronavirus, they have never lost hope, on the contrary, they are full of ideas, initiatives and projects,” he said.
Di Marco brought his own luxury experience to the brand when he joined it in September 2018. He had left his role as chairman and ceo of Gucci in January 2015, after six years. Prior to that, di Marco played an instrumental role in turning around Bottega Veneta as president and ceo for eight years. Previous experience includes eight years at Prada in Japan and the U.S., followed by Louis Vuitton in the U.S. Di Marco is a member of the board of Dolce & Gabbana and of SMCP, the group behind Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot and De Fursac.
As reported, in February, private equity fund Permira bought Golden Goose from Carlyle at a price that was pegged at 1.28 billion euros. Sneakers are the brand’s core business and account for around 80 percent of sales, but Golden Goose has been expanding its accessories and ready-to-wear.
Golden Goose achieved much of its success with the Superstar sneaker, which offers 400 variations a year. The brand prides itself on keeping its products handmade in Italy and offers customization through the Lab project.
As reported in March, Campara said he had decided to skip a season, the production of the brand’s main collection, as the coronavirus spread in Italy. He explained that Golden Goose has three collections: pre-women’s, main (what some call the runway show line and which accounts for 20 percent of sales) and men’s.
Wholesale accounts for 50 percent of sales. At the beginning of March, Golden Goose had a 70 percent sell-through, Campara said. He noted that the company closed 2019 with a 40 percent increase in sales to 272 million euros and a 40 percent increase in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, which reached 92 million euros.