MILAN — Alberto Baldan has resigned as chief executive officer of La Rinascente after 10 years at the helm of the Italian department store chain. He will be succeeded by Pierluigi Cocchini, previously sales director of the group. Baldan has agreed to remain in his position until the end of June and to oversee the celebration of the 100th anniversary of La Rinascente.
Cocchini joined La Rinascente in 2008 and “substantially contributed to the successful repositioning strategy of the company. His popularity and fairness among employees will facilitate and drive momentum in his new role,” the company said. In the short-term, Cocchini is tasked with the opening of the new La Rinascente flagship in Rome in the fall.
Monica Marsilli will takeover as buying director and Stefano Della Valle, currently chief financial officer, will assume responsibilities as chief operating officer of all Central Group Businesses in Europe. Della Valle has been with the company since the beginning of the rejuvenation project initiated by Vittorio Radice, now vice chairman, in 2005, “contributing to the creation and execution of the successful business plan. Over the last 10 years, he made a crucial role in ensuring the delivery of continuous growth in sales and profit.”
Tos Chirathivat, ceo of parent company Central Group of Thailand, described Cocchini and Della Valle as “two proven leaders” who, with Radice, will “take forward our expanding European activities. We are grateful to Alberto for having created a solid foundation for our business in Europe and wish him all the best for his future assignments.”
Thailand-based Central Retail Corp. took control of the Italian department store chain in May 2011, with plans to globally expand the chain.
In 2012, the retailer’s then-ceo Radice, who had been spearheading the stores’ turnaround, was promoted to vice chairman, and put in charge of the international development of luxury department stores under the Central Retail umbrella. Radice, who had joined the Italian chain in 2006, is also known for rejuvenating the British department store Selfridges.
Baldan, previously La Rinascente’s managing director, became ceo in the wake of Radice’s promotion. After graduating in economics and business from ‘Cà Foscari’ University, Baldan in 1987 started his retail career in Gruppo PAM, working at Hypermarkets Management Control. In 1989, he joined the French multinational company Promodes, leaving in 1996 for then-Gruppo Rinascente — Auchan. From 2003 to October 2007 he was ceo of Conforama Italia, the Italian branch of PPR’s Conforama. Baldan became general director of La Rinascente in 2007. In 2016, La Rinascente was named “The Best Department Store in the World” at the Global Department Store Summit, organized by the Intercontinental Group of Department Stores.
In 2013, the Italian retailer acquired the Illum store in Copenhagen and, two years later, a 50.1 percent stake in KaDeWe Group, the three-door premium department store group that was spun off from the Karstadt Department Store chain the previous fall. Radice also took on the role of vice chairman of Illum and KaDeWe. The group’s jewel in the crown in Italy is Milan’s Piazza Duomo flagship.