Valentino South Coast Plaza.

MILAN Jacopo Venturini, Gucci’s former executive vice president, merchandising and markets, is headed to Valentino, according to market sources. Venturini is said to be joining the Rome-based couture company in a top senior role. Sources believe he will succeed chief executive officer Stefano Sassi.

The Valentino house had no comment on the speculation.

One source said his arrival at Valentino is not expected before February or March, or in any case after the closing of the financial year. It is understood Venturini, who left Gucci in October, is also bound by a non-compete agreement.

This would be a return to Valentino for Venturini, who is a highly regarded and experienced industry veteran. He joined Gucci in 2015 from Valentino and, before that, worked at Prada.

Sassi was appointed Valentino’s ceo in 2006 and has been instrumental in leading and growing the company through the acquisition in 2012 by the Qatar-based Mayhoola and in a fruitful relation with creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli. Sassi continued to helm the company after Chiuri’s exit in 2016. He has helped build all product divisions and boost the brand’s retail and wholesale business globally, while developing its digital channel, partnering in 2017 with the Yoox Net-a-porter Group on a new omnichannel model called Next Era, allowing customers unprecedented online access to any product they want, or linking with Chinese giant Alibaba. In November, Valentino opened a new flagship in Beijing and, underscoring the importance of the store and the Chinese market, held a couture runway show in the city.

In April, Sassi said Valentino revenues last year rose 3.4 percent to 1.2 billion euros, compared with 1.16 billion euros in 2017. Last year Valentino also put a possible initial public offering on hold, and Sassi said this was “not a priority” for the company. The executive has also repeatedly deflected rumors about a possible Mayhoola disinvestment in Valentino.  

It is understood Sassi will be leaving the group owned by Mayhoola, which also owns Balmain and Pal Zileri.

Venturini’s arrival would signal yet another change at Valentino. As reported earlier this week, Sebastian Suhl will leave the company at the end of January. Suhl joined in January 2018 as managing director of global markets, reporting to Sassi.

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