PARIS — Kering has named Bartolomeo Rongone as chief executive officer of Bottega Veneta, succeeding Claus-Dietrich Lahrs, who is stepping down for personal reasons. Rongone’s appointment will be effective beginning Sept. 1, making him the third former Saint Laurent executive to take on a ceo role at Kering.
Rongone, who goes by the first name Leo, was previously chief operating officer of Saint Laurent in charge of ready-to-wear, leather goods and shoes, as well as global retail operations and client engagement. He joins Bottega Veneta at a time of rapid change for the brand, which last year hired Daniel Lee as creative director.
The Italian executive, 48, will report to François-Henri Pinault, chairman and ceo of Kering. Lahrs, meanwhile, has “taken a personal decision to leave to get closer to his family and to take on a new entrepreneurial challenge,” the group said in a statement on Monday.
“I would like to warmly thank Claus-Dietrich Lahrs for his commitment and his major achievements in nearly three years as head of Bottega Veneta. He made some decisive choices and created a new momentum for the maison. I wish him the best for his future career,” Pinault said.
“I’m delighted by the appointment of Leo Rongone, and appreciate his passion and energy. His knowledge of luxury and managerial qualities will be decisive in his new role,” he added.
Rongone began his career as a market analyst in the luxury sector. He joined Fendi in 2001, becoming head of business intelligence before taking on senior roles in the supply chain, merchandise planning and client relationship management. He has been at Kering since 2012.
Prior to his appointment, Kering promoted Emmanuel Gintzburger from worldwide retail and wholesale director for YSL to ceo of Alexander McQueen, and Cédric Charbit from executive vice president of product and marketing at Saint Laurent to ceo of Balenciaga.
Lahrs arrived at Bottega in late 2016 after spending eight years at the management helm of Hugo Boss, overseeing its rapid expansion worldwide at both retail and wholesale, as well as the growth of its women’s division. Prior to Boss, Lahrs held management positions at Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior Couture.
Under Lahrs, Bottega Veneta further developed its main markets, opening its biggest store in the world in Manhattan along with a one-off showing of its fall 2018 collection in New York. It also opened a flagship in the Ginza district of Tokyo.
But the brand has been losing steam. In the first quarter of the year, it recorded a sales decline of 8.9 percent as it prepared for Lee’s first clothing designs to hit stores.
Jean-Marc Duplaix, chief financial officer of Kering, said he expected only a modest improvement in the second half, despite “encouraging” feedback and order books following Lee’s first show in Milan in February.
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