LONDON — Jean-Philippe Hecquet will step down as chief executive officer of Lanvin after 18 months on the job. In the interim, Joann Cheng, chairman of Lanvin’s parent Fosun Fashion Group and head of the board of directors of Lanvin, will assume the ceo role, overseeing the brand’s strategy and operations.
“Our shareholders have an unwavering vision and are committed to advancing their initiatives and investment in the brand, which is only just beginning a new chapter,” Cheng said.
“We will continue to work together with the management team to ensure that Lanvin has the right capital and strategy to succeed. The board of directors wish to thank Mr. Hecquet for all his efforts in leading Lanvin through an important period of transition.”
Until a new ceo is appointed, Lanvin said Cheng and the executive committee will continue “driving the company across all sectors while forming a solid foundation from which the brand can expect exponential growth in the future.”
It is understood that Hecquet was shown the door after a period of friction and frustration on both sides. According to sources, he and the board could not agree on the size and nature of investments, and they struggled over control. His departure will have no impact on the future of designer Bruno Sialelli, with whom the company is said to be pleased.
Hecquet’s departure also comes as the house battles to contain the impact of the coronavirus: While the fall 2020 Lanvin show was well-received, buyers have been canceling orders due to concerns over budgets and the future impact of COVID-19 on sales.
Before joining Lanvin, Hecquet had been serving as ceo of French fashion chain Sandro since 2014. Hecquet was Fosun’s first major management hire after it purchased the cash-strapped Lanvin in 2018, and during his brief tenure hired most of the senior managers at the company.
When he arrived in 2018, Cheng was serving as interim ceo after the company ousted general manager Nicolas Druz.
Back in 2018, Cheng had touted Hecquet’s “extensive international experience in the luxury fashion industry, his strong entrepreneurship and his proven managerial skills” and said they would be major assets in developing and accelerating Lanvin’s business.
The executive also boasts more than a decade of experience in various roles at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. That includes two years as international retail director for Tag Heuer.
Before that, he spent eight years at Louis Vuitton, acting as country head in Canada, vice president of operations in North America, logistics and supply chain manager in Hawaii, and category manager in watches and jewelry in Paris.
His résumé also includes stints at Mercedes-Benz France and online car sales start-up Latitudes-Diffusion.com.
Hecquet’s departure comes a month after Lanvin and Loewe struck an agreement in a non-compete case related to Lanvin’s employment of the designer Sialelli, ending a dispute that had landed in a Paris commercial court over a year ago.
Sialelli, who was previously men’s wear designer at Loewe, a fashion house belonging to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, was recruited to reverse Lanvin’s fortunes. Lanvin formally revealed Sialelli’s appointment in January 2019, four months before he was officially due to leave Loewe.
LVMH is known to strictly enforce non-compete clauses, which are widespread in the industry as fashion houses seek to safeguard talent against poaching from rivals.
Fosun said Tuesday that since it became a majority shareholder in Lanvin in 2018, it has been “strongly committed to reaffirming the brand’s position as one of the industry’s most iconic fashion houses.”
Fosun Fashion Group’s current portfolio also includes Wolford, St. John Knits, Caruso and Tom Tailor. It is headquartered in Shanghai.