MILAN — As per the succession plan set in motion earlier this year, the Yoox Net-a-porter Group will see the arrival of a new chief executive officer in 2021. Geoffroy Lefebvre, currently group digital distribution director at YNAP parent Compagnie Financière Richemont, will succeed Federico Marchetti effective Jan. 4. Marchetti will remain chairman of the group to ensure a smooth transition.
“Richemont’s digital journey, since our first investment in Net-a-porter in 2002, to my encounter with a visionary entrepreneur, Federico Marchetti, that led in 2015 to the creation of the Yoox Net-a-porter Group, then its acquisition in 2018, has been fascinating in many ways,” Johann Rupert, chairman of Richemont, said in a statement Monday. “I would like to thank Federico for his relentless passion, his energy and his drive in shaping the largest player in Luxury Selective Distribution. He has crafted and delivered the vision that has prevailed since 2000 and has inspired so many. I wish Federico all the best for his future career.”
Rupert also praised Lefebvre for “driving the expansion” of Richemont’s e-commerce over the past two years after holding other executive positions within the group, eyeing future global growth for YNAP.
Marchetti said he was “delighted to be handing the baton” to Lefebvre. “We have worked together over recent times and he fully masters our business model. In our 20th anniversary year, it is a fitting moment to kick-start the hand over and I look forward to working with him as chairman during the transition period.”
Marchetti touted the group’s exponential growth in the past 20 years, “from a fledgling start-up to the biggest player in luxury e-commerce. As an entrepreneur, I am proud to have created a tech unicorn and built a digital powerhouse. The group has solid foundations, which will propel it toward long-term growth. I will continue to innovate combining human touch with digital disruption, while retaining the focus on people, customers and our communities.”
“The last five years have been shaped by mutual and respectful collaboration with Rupert,” Marchetti told WWD. “I am very thankful for having allowed me to execute the merger and extend the life of Yoox and Net-a-porter, creating a stronger reality.” He also touted how Rupert allowed him to be “independent, running a neutral platform. I will always be grateful to him for this,” and for creating the “legendary” YNAP Group. At the same time, he thanked the teams, partners, brands and shareholders.
Marchetti said he was “fully committed to making the transition a success because I love and care for Yoox Net-a-porter.” For this reason, he declined to put a time frame to the transition and said there were no future projects to reveal about his career.
Since July, Marchetti is also an independent, non-executive director of the board of Giorgio Armani SpA — the first nonfamily member to be part of the board.
The entrepreneur touted the promotion of Lefebvre to the ceo role from within the group. “This is the right choice and in sync with our belief in supporting the younger generation and beyond boundaries,” Marchetti said.
In his role as group digital distribution director at Richemont, Lefebvre was in charge of e-commerce channels and customer relationship centers globally. He was also a director of Fengmao Trading Ltd., the joint-venture created between Richemont and the Alibaba Group.
In over nine years at Richemont, he has pursued a career at its headquarters as group industry director, then successively as managing director of operations at Vacheron Constantin; deputy ceo of Jaeger-LeCoultre and ceo of Baume & Mercier until 2019.
Prior to Richemont, he spent six years at McKinsey & Co. in France and the U.K.
In March, Marchetti said he had decided to stay on as chairman but to hand over the ceo role when a successor was found. A month later, the coronavirus outbreak put the YNAP Group’s search for a new ceo on pause. As reported, at the time Marchetti said he had put the search “on a back burner,” as he intended to helm the company “until we return to calm waters.”
Marchetti broke ground in Italy by founding Yoox in 2000 and publicly listing it in 2009, then the first initial public offering in Italy in 18 months.
Then, in a first in the luxury online arena, Marchetti spearheaded the merger of Yoox and Net-a-porter in 2015.
YNAP’s active customers today total 4.3 million and the group comprises the multibrand online stores Net-a-porter and Mr Porter; the multibrand off-season players Yoox and The Outnet, as well as the online flagships for designer brands ranging from Giorgio Armani to Valentino — a business model he pioneered in 2006, when designers were still skeptical of the Internet. Marchetti was also among the first to believe in the potential of selling high jewelry and luxury watches online, starting in 2016 and now stocking brands such as Piaget, Cartier, Audemars Piguet, Pomellato, IWC and Buccellati. That year, Marchetti also planned an innovative logistics platform outside Milan for Net-a-porter and Mr Porter, which was unveiled last year, to better serve European customers — a prescient move that is now seen as an asset that offers a competitive advantage as Brexit becomes a reality.
Richemont took control of YNAP in 2018, delisting it from the Milan Stock Exchange and valuing the company at about 6 billion euros.