Backstage at Marni RTW Fall 2018

MILAN Marni has appointed Stefano Biondo chief executive officer, effective May 15. He succeeds Ubaldo Minelli, who was promoted to ceo of parent group OTB in January.

Biondo was previously chief brand officer at Italian eyewear company Safilo. He will report to Minelli.

OTB controls Diesel, Maison Margiela, Viktor & Rolf, Paula Cademartori, Staff International and Brave Kid.

Marni has a precise and recognizable identity with incredible potential for growth. In recent years, we have built a solid foundation for the brand’s future and it is now on the launchpad for true development and success,” said Minelli, expressing his confidence in Biondo’s contribution in “reaching our ambitious goals and objectives for the next chapter.”

The appointment of Biondo is part of the new organization of the brand’s management structure globally. In 2017, Marni’s turnover exceeded 180 million euros, the company revealed Friday.

The structure, said the company, “has gained in innovation and efficiency, and has already developed a three-year strategic plan that will accelerate Marni’s growth with a focus on Asia (especially in China), and a further development in its men’s collections and in licensing partnerships.”

Following Marni founder Consuelo Castiglioni’s exit in 2016, her successor, creative director Francesco Risso, has been putting his own stamp on the label.

Marni on Friday touted the growth of the accessories category, particularly handbags, which showed gains ranging from 70 to 90 percent in certain markets. The group also trumpeted a wider customer reach that includes Millennials, recording a double-digit growth.

The company is present in 54 countries and has been investing significantly in its distribution globally. The wholesale channel counts 470 stores and Marni has 70 monobrand stores, some of which are entirely dedicated to accessories, and 22 boutiques operated with local partners. The latest opening was in Florence, and coming up next are units in Paris, New York, Rome and several in China.

The company has ramped up visibility through its pop-up stores called “Marni Markets,” in some of the most important department stores and online platforms across the world.

In April, OTB said designer brands contributed to the group’s growth last year, although revenues were down 3.8 percent to 1.52 billion euros, affected by currency fluctuations. At constant exchange, sales decreased 2.4 percent.