Massimo Piombini

Massimo Piombini, who joined Balmain in April 2017 and piloted the brand through an expansion phase, is leaving the firm, WWD has learned.

Balmain confirmed that Piombini is leaving for personal reasons, and added that a new chief executive officer would join the company in February.

“Under his leadership the company has experienced a significant growth and organizational evolution, setting a solid basis for further growth of the brand in the next years,” Balmain said in a statement. “The house wishes him well on his future endeavors.”

It is understood that turnover at the Paris-based house almost doubled over the past three years.

During Piombini’s tenure, Balmain opened boutiques in Paris, Hong Kong, Moscow, São Paolo and Miami, and it signed a lease for a New York flagship, which is slated to open in the first half of 2020.

Today there are around 45 Balmain boutiques worldwide, including directly owned units and franchise locations.

Piombini’s next move could not immediately be learned. He joined Balmain from Valentino SpA, where he was worldwide commercial director.

Valentino and Balmain are both owned by Mayhoola for Investments, the investment fund backed by the emir of Qatar.

The executive worked with creative director Olivier Rousteing to open stores and expand the product assortment, primarily in accessories and via collaborations, notably with Puma and cosmetics giant L’Oréal.

“Balmain has always been a brand that has captured a lot of attention with other brands for co-branding opportunities, in spite of our size that is not very big. Olivier is a very modern and interesting character in communications, in entertainment, in sports, in the movie space and in the fashion space,” Piombini told WWD last month.

Rousteing has 5.7 million followers on Instagram, which he uses to communicate with his “Balmain army.”

Balmain recently signed a new eyewear license, and is looking for a fragrance licensee.

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