Joshua Schulman, chief executive officer and president of Coach, a Tapestry Inc. brand, has made two key executive appointments to drive the business forward.
Laura Dubin-Wander will join the brand as president, North America. She will be responsible for delivering growth across all North American directly operated retail and wholesale channels.
Fredrik Malm has been named president, Coach Europe and Coach International. He will oversee the company’s directly operated retail and wholesale businesses in Europe, as well as the global franchise, distributor and travel retail businesses.
Both executives, who start in the new calendar year, will report to Schulman.
Most recently, Dubin-Wander was U.S. president of Givenchy. Prior to that, she held leadership roles at Christian Dior Couture, American Eagle Outfitters, Liz Claiborne and Victoria’s Secret.
“Laura is a results-oriented brand leader who brings with her deep retail experience across multiple categories and avenues of distribution,” said Schulman. “Her combined passion for business and fashion is the foundation of her successful career. She has a consumer-centric approach to managing brands and a proven track record of leading teams to deliver profitable growth.”
Malm was most recently president, sales EMEA at Ralph Lauren Corp., which he joined in 2011. Earlier he was vice president, global retail, at Ecco and ceo of Intersport, a sporting goods company in Sweden.
“Fredrik’s extensive international experience and leadership capabilities make him a natural fit for the role. He brings invaluable insights which are vital in driving rapid growth in the European market,” said Schulman.
In discussing the new hires, Schulman said Dubin-Wander has a strong, unique background. “She is a really customer-focused business leader whose background encompasses high-touch luxury, but she also has deep experience in much larger businesses, with broader customer businesses,” he said. He explained that she has had a variety of assignments over the years and a great balance of being focused on the customer and a real understanding of the business. He added that he’s known Dubin-Wander for some time.
She takes over some of the responsibilities previously handled by Andre Cohen, former president, North America and Global Marketing, who left the company at the end of June. The role’s functions have since changed. Schulman said he anticipates that Dubin-Wander will continue to elevate Coach’s store experience in both the directly operated retail stores and wholesale business.
Asked whether there will be more of an emphasis on ready-to-wear going forward, Schulman said accessories remain the brand’s focus. “Clearly what’s exciting about Coach is that Stuart [Vevers, executive creative director] has articulated the important lifestyle on the runway, and we see a lot of opportunity to develop the lifestyle category,” he said.
He noted that the most important priority is the footwear business, which is primed for growth, both in the brand’s own stores and wholesale network. Coach took back the license for footwear in the last year, and has been growing the assortment.
Discussing the brand’s expectations for the Christmas season, Schulman couldn’t divulge specifics, but said, “We’ve really enhanced our gifting assortment for the season, and we’ve really looked at the flow of product for the holiday, to ensure we have newness not only at the beginning of the season, but flowing newness more frequently.”
This is the first holiday season the company is offering Coach Create, which is the customization platform that has been launched in about 37 stores so far. “Based on early strong results, we’re looking to approximately double the distribution for spring,” said Schulman. “What is interesting about it is it allows you customization and is done while you wait. It allows for immediate gratification and the expression of personal style. That’s one of the things we’re highlighting for the holidays.”
Turning to Malm, he said the executive has extensive retail and wholesale experience, tremendous knowledge and market insights throughout Europe and understands the international markets.
Schulman called the European market “one of our fastest-growing regions.” He noted that there are 55 stores in Europe and an important wholesale presence. Coach also has an online business in five languages in five countries in Europe.
Malm succeeds Andrew Stanleick, who had been president and ceo of Coach Europe, and resigned over the summer to become senior vice president, Coty Consumer Beauty, Europe.
Malm’s new role encompasses both the Coach European business and Coach International, which includes distributor and travel retail business worldwide, managed out of London. Malm will be based in London.
As for Malm’s priorities, Schulman said, “What Fredrik will do is partner with our leadership team in rolling out the growth plan across Europe.” He said what’s unique about the Coach brand is that although it has an important presence, it has had a significant presence in Europe for less than a decade. “We believe we’re in the early innings of our growth there,” he said.
The company has two general managers in Asia, one for Greater China, based in Shanghai and overseeing Greater China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and one who oversees Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia, based in Tokyo.
“Now we’ve got the world covered,” said Schulman.