MILAN — The Valentino Group has tapped Isabelle Harvie-Watt to the new post of chief marketing officer, overseeing all marketing and communications for the fashion house, effective April 16. She will report directly to chief executive officer Stefano Sassi.
“Isabelle has exceptional experience in our industry and I am confident that her deep understanding of the rapidly evolving landscape for luxury brands will be invaluable for our growth strategy moving forward,” Sassi said. The appointment signals Valentino’s focus on developing a more integrated, omnichannel approach to marketing and communications. As reported last year, for example, Valentino has partnered with the Yoox Net-a-porter Group to develop a new omnichannel business model called Next Era that will allow customers unprecedented online access to any product they want.
Born and raised in London, Harvie-Watt has a Master of Arts in history and Italian literature from the University of Edinburgh, and has been working in Italy for more than 25 years. Most recently, she was a managing partner and ceo of the Spring Group — Spring Studios and Spring Place — in Milan, tasked with expanding and managing the group’s footprint in Italy. In this role, she was responsible for launching, building and managing Spring’s creative agency and production services in Italy, as well as supporting the global development of its new co-working club concept, Spring Place.
Prior to this, Harvie-Watt spent five years as ceo and country manager of Havas Media Group in Italy. While at Havas, she also founded and launched Luxhub, a global strategic consulting division for the group, specializing in luxury and fashion.
Valentino can also rely on Harvie-Watt’s extensive 20-year experience working for luxury fashion brands. Before Havas and Spring, she held marketing and communications executive positions at Giorgio Armani, Versace and Tod’s Group.
“I am really excited to be joining Valentino at this time and to have the opportunity to help further build on its incredible heritage and the dynamic growth and momentum of the last few years,” said Harvie-Watt, emphasizing Sassi’s leadership and creative director’s Pierpaolo Piccioli’s vision, which “have pushed Valentino to the forefront of fashion.” Valentino, which is controlled by Qatar-based Mayhoola Group, is also said to be eyeing an initial public offering in the second half of 2018.
Harvie-Watt’s role comprises that of Francesca Leoni, who had been worldwide communications director at Valentino in Rome since 2010. As reported, Leoni was named to the newly created role of senior vice president, chief brand officer of the Michael Kors brand at Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., the global fashion luxury group.