Fred Gehring is passing the torch at Tommy Hilfiger Group to Daniel Grieder — who will oversee the brand globally as chief executive officer and also work to help Calvin Klein duplicate Hilfiger’s success in Europe.
Gehring, 59, is currently ceo of both Hilfiger and PVH Corp.’s international unit, and by the end of next year will transition to chairman of Hilfiger, a new role, and vice chairman of PVH. From that perch, he will advise PVH chairman and ceo Emanuel Chirico.
Grieder, 51, who has worked with Tommy Hilfiger Europe since 1997, will keep his current job as ceo of PVH Europe.
“We’ve worked as a team quite effectively for many years,” Gehring told WWD.
While the Hilfiger business is likely to stay on its same general course, Gehring noted, “The weather changes every day. You can never say the way we do it today is the way we should stay. We evolve all the time. There is a constant need for adaptation. He and I will figure it out.”
The company also named Peter Schlagboehmer as president of brand management for Tommy Hilfiger Europe and Iris Epple as president of brand management for Calvin Klein Europe. Both report to Grieder.
Gehring’s tenure at the brand has seen many major changes, including a buyout by Apax Partners and the sale to PVH in 2010.
“I’ve had a chance to do everything that I would like to do, but there are other things in life,” he said. “My passion is also to do a little bit less, more hobbies. This is not to be seen as a semiretirement with an honorary role, I’m superpassionate about this brand. I won’t need any trigger or encouragement to be actively involved.”
Gehring said the Hilfiger business has been “quite good everywhere.”
“There are areas in Europe that are really tough, so the other areas have to make up for that,” he said. “We definitely feel pretty good about the European business going forward. America…we’re quite happy with the performance. There are certain aspects we could be happier with.”
One of Grieder’s key jobs will be to build up the Calvin Klein business in Europe, which Gehring described as “another major power name that aesthetically is the opposite of Tommy Hilfiger, if you will, so it is completely noncompetitive. It’s a sleeping giant, but it needs to be built from the ground up.”
Chirico said Gehring, who is already on PVH’s board, would remain a close adviser.
“Since the acquisition, any of the major deals that we’ve done, from Warnaco to some of our major licenses around the world…a lot of that’s [involved] discussions with Fred,” Chirico said. “He’s been a major force in the strategy of the company.”