TWO MORE EXECUTIVES LEAVE KARAN
Byline: David Moin
NEW YORK — In another shakeup at Donna Karan, two key executives, Linda Beauchamp and Sonja Caproni, have left the company.
Beauchamp was president of Donna Karan Men’s/DKNY Men’s, and she was the architect of Donna Karan’s men’s business from the time it was launched in June 1991.
Caproni was design director of Karan’s home business and a former president of Donna Karan accessories.
The company said Friday that Don Witkowski has been named to succeed Beauchamp, but it had no information on whether a successor to Caproni had been hired.
Witkowski was senior vice president of men’s merchandising and design at Polo Jeanswear Co. since 1995. Previously, he was vice president and divisional merchandise manager of men’s sportswear at Barneys New York, and before that was vice president of sales and merchandising for the Calvin Klein Men’s Collection, a division of GFT USA.
Sources described the departures as surprising since Beauchamp and Caproni were pivotal in establishing various Karan businesses and had strong ties to retailers. However, they also said that since becoming ceo of Karan last year, John Idol has been building a new team and more changes are likely. Last week, Mary Wang, former president of DKNY women’s division, became president of Emanuel/Emanuel Ungaro. The division has yet to name a successor.
Beauchamp joined Karan in June 1991 and, as chief of Karan’s men’s business, headed up strategic planning, product positioning, sourcing and implementation of shop-in-shops, developing a men’s organization with 65 people. In 1992, Donna Karan Menswear debuted at Barneys.
Prior to joining Karan, Beauchamp held other high-profile positions. She worked at Macy’s for 19 years, rising to counselor for men’s product development in corporate merchandising. After Macy’s, she joined Saks Fifth Avenue, where she became vice president and fashion director for men’s, before joining Karan.
In November 1997, after a colossal consolidation at Donna Karan that reduced 13 divisions down to six, she was given the additional responsibility of heading DKNY Men’s.
Caproni was president of Donna Karan accessories from 1989 to 1996, then shifted to the home area in 1997. She resumed accessories responsibilities, on top of her home position, in 1997 until early this year, when there was more executive shifting.
Before joining Karan, Caproni had been president of accessories for Paloma Picasso and fashion director of I. Magnin.
Caproni confirmed her departure Sunday; Beauchamp was not available for comment.
Of the Witkowski appointment, Idol said in statement, “We are excited that someone of Don’s talent and experience will be joining our team.”
In May 1997, Donna Karan International bit the bullet by announcing a cost-cutting measure that eliminated 4 percent of its workforce.
The hardest-hit areas were retail development and the women’s Collection accessories divisions.