Giacomo Santucci.

MILAN — Italian accessories and leather goods company Il Bisonte has appointed fashion veteran Giacomo Santucci as chairman of the board.

Santucci, born in Italy’s Abruzzo region in 1956, has a reputation in the industry for developing luxury brands in new markets. He helped build the cosmetics and eyewear businesses at Prada, reorganizing operations in Asia and working closely with acquired brands like Helmut Lang, before he joined Gucci in 2001, reporting to former president and chief executive officer Domenico De Sole, until 2004. After that, stints included executive roles at Malo and Dolce & Gabbana. Santucci was formerly a senior manager at McKinsey & Co. in Milan and Paris, and for the last 10 years he consulted with several fashion companies collaborating with investment funds. He is currently serving on the boards of Roberto Cavalli and Gianvito Rossi Japan, and teaches at the LUISS Business School in Rome.

Il Bisonte was acquired in 2015 by independent private equity firm Palamon Capital Partners, which set out to relaunch the brand, and is led by ceo Sofia Ciucchi.

“I am very proud of this key addition to our board of directors. Giacomo is a person I deeply respect and I am sure he will be able to give us an impetus and strategic support in our business development” said Ciucchi, praising Santucci’s diversified professional experience.

Il Bisonte, known for its handcrafted leather products, was founded in 1970 in Florence by Wanny Di Filippo, currently honorary chairman.

The company today counts 50 boutiques and is distributed in 120 multibrand stores worldwide.

In September, Il Bisonte opened a pop-up corner on the fifth floor of Bergdorf Goodman, a first step in the brand’s expansion through a direct retail presence in key cities. “We strongly believe in the potential of the U.S. market, where our brand has been present since the 1980s,” said Ciucchi at the time. “On its web site, Bergdorf has introduced us with the motto ‘The iconic brand has returned.’ We are very happy about this and we are working hard to make this the first step of a big return into the American market. Our plan is to open the first flagship store in New York very soon, and then strengthen our position via the store and the e-commerce site, enabling us to further develop distribution.”

At the end of August, Il Bisonte announced the opening of its first directly operated store in Asia, in Hong Kong’s renowned IFC shopping mall, as part of a strategy to also develop business in China and other parts of Asia. The brand is especially well-known in Japan, where there are 40 stores. Last week, the Florentine company opened a second directly operated store in Hong Kong, at the K11 shopping mall.

 

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