MILAN – Former Gucci America chief operating officer Matteo Mascazzini is expected to take on the chief executive officer role at Geox SpA – a position to be made official during a board meeting that will be held on Feb. 1.   He will succeed Gregorio Borgo, who is leaving the Italian footwear company after only one year.

Mascazzini has 20 years of experience in fashion. For 10 years, he held several positions within Gucci, including associate president of Gucci Europe, Middle East and India, and president and ceo of Gucci Japan, among others.

From 2003 to 2007, he was chief operating officer and chief financial officer at Giorgio Armani in America and Japan. Before that, he was group controller for the Gianni Versace group.

Geox president Mario Moretti Polegato underscored Mascazzini’s experience and said he was “certain” the executive will “boost the growth of the group and align marketing, communication, brand and product strategy with commercial distribution to allow Geox to reach important results in terms of growth and profitability in the near future.”

Following the release of Geox year-end sales, which fell 1.8 percent to 884.3 million euros, and despite Moretti Polegato’s confidence in the efforts made last year aimed at operative efficiency, cost-control and investments in markets with growth potential, shares were down 6.1 percent to 2.68 euros in mid-day trading on the Milan Stock Exchange on Friday.

Last year, Russia, Eastern Europe and China helped lift the performance of the group, which in 2017 rationalized its network of stores. At the end of December, the number of Geox shops totaled 1,095, of which 439 were directly operated. In 2017, 70 new stores were opened and 136 were closed as part of the group’s strategy to streamline its units. Directly operated stores accounted for 41 percent of the group’s sales.

In 2017, the company introduced a new store concept. Designed to offer a sustainable take on interior design, which is reflected in the use of natural materials such as wood, terracotta tiles and carpets crafted from up-cycled fishnets, the concept highlights the sense of breathability that characterizes the brand’s footwear offering. In particular, the main door features the perforated details that appear on the soles of the shoes. In order to find an always better balance between style and innovation, Geox also tapped footwear designer Ernesto Esposito, who previously worked at Salvatore Ferragamo and Sergio Rossi, to launch a women’s capsule collection for the fall 2017 season.