OTB ceo Ubaldo Minelli

MILAN OTB is redesigning its top ranks. Ubaldo Minelli next month will be appointed chief executive officer of the Italian fashion group founded by Renzo Rosso. He will succeed Riccardo Stilli, who will exit that role after four years.

Minelli, who joined OTB 17 years ago, serves as ceo of Staff International and Marni. Starting in January, all OTB ceo’s will report to Minelli. OTB is the parent of brands Diesel, Maison Margiela, Marni, Paula Cademartori, Viktor & Rolf and production arms Staff International and Brave Kid.

Carlo Schiavo has also been tapped as chief financial officer of the group, after years of experience in international companies such as PWC, Fiat and Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Stilli, a former partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers, joined OTB from the publicly listed RCS MediaGroup, where he held the role of general director. Previously, he spent six years as cfo of Prada, playing an important role in the Italian company’s preparations for a stock market listing. During that time, Prada postponed an initial public offering three times and Stilli left in 2004, ahead of the eventual listing in Hong Kong in 2011.

One Milan-based source speculated that Stilli had been tapped by OTB for a potential IPO. Rumors about OTB publicly listing have repeatedly surfaced here. In March, Stilli told WWD that a potential IPO was not in the pipeline, although Rosso “has not ruled out a possibility if there is an opportunity.” The company, however, is now in the midst of a reorganization, with a focus on repositioning the Diesel brand.

Sources say Rosso is finalizing his team, including the key position of ceo at Diesel, following Alessandro Bogliolo’s move from that role to Tiffany & Co. in October after four years.

OTB closed 2016 with net profits up 8.5 percent to 3.8 million euros, on revenues that were in line with the previous year, totaling 1.58 billion euros.

“It was a complex year for Diesel,” Stilli said in March as it was impacted by the repositioning of the brand and its more selective distribution, which led to a “voluntary reduction” of sales totaling 200 million euros.

In 2016, Diesel’s revenues totaled 960 million euros, representing about 60 percent of OTB’s sales, but for the first time it operated at a loss, dented by business in Europe and the U.S., as well as in Hong Kong.

In the summer, Diesel named Stefano Rosso, son of Renzo, as its North American ceo, succeeding Tommaso Bruso, and marking the company’s decision to strengthen business in the North American market.

Designer brands helped lift OTB’s performance in 2016. Maison Margiela, under the creative direction of John Galliano, reached sales of 135 million euros from 100 million euros two years ago. As reported in February, Margiela has appointed Diesel executive Riccardo Bellini as its new ceo, succeeding Giovanni Pungetti. Pungetti, one of the most senior executives in the Italian group, has become ceo of the Greater China region, overseeing all of OTB’s brands there.

Marni, which grew by double digits to 170 million euros last year, saw the arrival of new creative director Francesco Risso following the exit of Marni founder Consuelo Castiglioni.