LONDON — Judd Crane has been named chief executive officer of Proenza Schouler, succeeding Ron Frasch, who had been serving as interim ceo since last June, WWD has learned.
Crane will take over the role in early September. An announcement is expected later this week.
He was previously director of women’s wear and accessories at Selfridges in London, where he worked for four years overseeing buying and merchandising for all product categories including ready-to-wear, leather goods, shoes, jewelry, travel and kids.
A rising star at Selfridges, he also oversaw the refurbishment of the store’s designer women’s wear floor and was a champion of British talent at the store.
Prior to that he was senior merchandising director at Pedder Group, the accessories division of the Lane Crawford Joyce Group in Hong Kong, where he was responsible for significant businesses across Asia, including Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.
Designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez called Crane “a world-class merchant who instinctively understands and shares our vision of how we see the brand developing in the coming years. He has the impressive leadership skills and the ambition needed to drive the business during its next phase of growth and we are very much looking forward to having him on board.”
Crane said he’s looking forward “to developing the business strategy that will enable the brand to realize its tremendous potential.”
As reported earlier this month, McCollough and Hernandez are revamping their approach to handbags and accessories, with plans to double accessories sales, which presently represent half of the overall business, over the next two to three years.
The designers have introduced two new design families, and are aiming to rekindle interest in their once-hot PS1 range, releasing a more luxe update on the design. It will hit retailers in January.
The private equity firm Castanea Partners, of which Frasch is an operating partner, took a minority stake in Proenza last June.
Frasch, former chief merchant at Saks Fifth Avenue, succeeded Shirley Cook, the brand’s founder ceo, on an interim basis last year. At the time of the investment, Proenza was said to have revenues approaching $85 million and the investment was meant to power up further the growth of the hot U.S. brand. The business has more than 250 points of sale in more than 20 countries and 10 freestanding stores.
Frasch and Castanea’s managing partner Brian Knez sit on the board, along with former Burberry Group ceo Rose Marie Bravo, Irving Place Capital ceo John Howard and Theory Inc. ceo Andrew Rosen. In 2011, Howard and Rosen led a group of investors that bought a 50 percent stake in Proenza Schouler from Valentino Fashion Group and others.
Asked last year by WWD whether building their sales volume up to $1 billion was a goal, Hernandez said, “Our partners and investors want us to keep growing and growing and growing. It’s the way people run businesses today. You don’t plateau — ever.”