MILAN — Mark Lee, the former chief executive officer of the Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent brands, will join the board of Yoox Corp., the wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of online retailer Yoox SpA, effective July 1.
This story first appeared in the June 17, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“I hold him in very high regard,” said Yoox founder Federico Marchetti in an exclusive interview. “He is a great manager and did a fantastic job at Gucci, also in light of the goals the company had at the time.”
Marchetti said the U.S. is a “fundamental market” for Yoox. The Bologna-based company, which is listed on the Milan Stock Exchange, said that, in the first quarter ended March 31, revenues in North America rose 111.6 percent compared with the year-ago period. Marchetti is banking on Lee’s “vision” for the U.S., which is the retailer’s “second market,” he said, “the one that has grown the most, and we are highly focused on it.”
Marchetti said Lee will work with Moritz Hau, America’s newly appointed country manager.
“Online retail continues to be the fastest-growing and most dynamic global retail segment, and Yoox Group, via Federico Marchetti’s vision and leadership, has created a highly successful business model in a relatively short period, culminating in the recent stock exchange listing,” Lee told WWD, referring to Yoox’s initial public offering in December. “I believe Yoox as the global partner for leading fashion brands has a sustainable and unique long-term business model superior to others active in this space. As a new board member, I believe I will bring to Yoox my global brand and market knowledge with particular insight into the American market, and, in return, I will continue to learn about this fast-evolving and exciting retail segment.”
In April, Lee, who stepped down from Gucci’s helm in 2008, joined the board of American firm Tory Burch. Lee, who led YSL and Gucci in the post-Tom Ford era at Gucci Group, has also held senior management roles at Jil Sander America and Giorgio Armani. He began his career as an assistant buyer for European designer collections at Saks Fifth Avenue in 1984.
Lee’s arrival at Yoox and the growth of the U.S. market are also signs that more American brands will be available at the retailer. The company is working with VF Corp. as Yoox launched an online store for the group’s Napapijri label in the first quarter of the year. Yoox manages multibrand online stores Yoox.com and Thecorner.com and runs e-commerce sites for designer brands from Marni and Emilio Pucci to Emporio Armani, Valentino and Roberto Cavalli.
Yoox, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in Rome on Sunday, tapped Francesco Guidotti as its new chief financial officer, effective July 1. Guidotti, who lists professional experiences at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Bulgari, is returning to Yoox and succeeds Paolo Fietta.