NEW YORK — After 18 months as interim chief executive officer of Ralph Rucci LLC, Jeffry Aronsson has relinquished that post to focus on his consultancy company, the Aronsson Group.
The plan is to hand over the ceo role to a permanent ceo, but an individual has not yet been named.
Both parties said Monday that the temporary arrangement had always been part of the plan. Aronsson is maintaining his minority stake in the company.
Ralph Rucci chairman Nancy Marx said Aronsson “did such a great job,” helping to stir up more interest among stores, moving the designer’s offices into a new space and “putting out some fires,” among other things. With Aronsson on board, the designer branched out into new categories, attracted new investors, earned favorable reviews for his spring collection and launched his first advertising campaign. Industry sources said Aronsson has been instrumental in improving sell-throughs, stabilizing the company financially and operationally and enhancing the wholesale side of the business.
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Another consultant, Guy Muzio, has stepped in to help out with Aronsson’s former responsibilities. Marx declined to say when a permanent ceo would be named, but noted the company was “holding out” for an exact match.
Reached at home Monday, Aronsson said, “This is a transient moment for the company because of what we have achieved in the past year and a half. Now the company is ready to get someone in who can devote 150 percent of their bandwidth and really make the business happen. This isn’t something so sudden. We have been casting a net for a permanent ceo for a while. As much as I enjoyed being acting ceo, I want to focus on my own business.”
He continued, “With Ralph [Rucci], this was a situation that I responded to when he needed me. I was happy to help out.”
At various points in his career before he started his own company in 2006, Aronsson served as chairman and ceo of Donna Karan International, Marc Jacobs International and Oscar de la Renta. More recently, in 2011, he relocated to Paris to work as the acting ceo for Emanuel Ungaro, a post that wound up being a four-month arrangement. At that time, his firm took on the strategic planning for that business.
Rucci said, “Jeffry has moved the company forward into a new era; he has done a tremendous job over the last year and a half. The company is now ready to benefit from a permanent ceo to continue its expansion both domestically and internationally. We look forward to this next step in our evolution.”
Aronsson Group came into the company in a consulting role in spring 2012.
Soon off on a two-week trip to India to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary with his wife Wendy (a year after the fact), Aronsson said he will remain in touch with the Rucci team. “I am very pleased with the experience and the preparation for the next phase,” he said. “Now it’s up to someone else. It’s time for a permanent ceo who can really devote the hours 24/7.”