This story first appeared in the March 13, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Shares fell 0.4 percent to 8.57 pounds, or $12.88 at current exchange, on the London Stock Exchange after Mulberry said Andretta would start work on April 7, succeeding Godfrey Davis, the brand’s chairman who is serving as interim ceo.
Mulberry, which has rebooted its strategy following a tumultuous period for the company under the former ceo Bruno Guillon, looked close to home for this latest appointment. Andretta, who was most recently ceo of the Italian jeweler Buccellati, was named an independent, non-executive director at Mulberry last year. Prior to Buccellati, he held top roles at Lanvin, Moschino, Kering and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
More than a decade ago, Andretta served as ceo of the LVMH-owned Céline, which is also the former employer of Johnny Coca, Mulberry’s new creative director, who will take up his role in July 8.
Davis will revert to his role as company chairman when Andretta takes over.
Andretta, whose background is in luxury leather goods, pointed to Mulberry’s “unique manufacturing base in the U.K.,” located in Somerset, England, and said the brand has great international potential. Andretta will carry on Davis’ work over the past year to tweak Mulberry’s market positioning, reconnect with its core British female customer, and consolidate its recent moves into international markets.
Guillon stepped down as ceo last March after two dramatic years at the company. His tenure was marred by a rapid and ill-fated move upmarket, multiple profit warnings, the resignation of creative director Emma Hill, and the collapse of the company’s share price. Since Guillon’s departure, Davis has lowered some key price points in order to woo back the core customer, who drifted away after Mulberry adopted a pricing structure that was too heavily focused on the high-end.
There is now a wider spectrum of prices, and in December, Davis told WWD the company was seeing “an increase in the number of items bought.” The company said in the nine weeks to Nov. 29 retail revenue was up 8 percent.
Over the past few years, Mulberry has also pushed further into international markets. It has opened a raft of new stores in North America, Europe and the Far East, and plans to cut the ribbon on a Paris flagship store in the spring, which will mark the end of its accelerated investment program.
Mulberry is majority owned by Challice Ltd., a company controlled by Ong Beng Seng and Christina Ong. They own 56.2 percent, while the rest is listed on the AIM division of the London Stock Exchange.