SHINDE EXITS DESIGN POST AT WINSTON
Byline: Melanie Kletter
NEW YORK — There is change in the air — and behind the iron gates — at Harry Winston.
After 40 years at the design helm of the fabled jeweler, Ambaji Shinde is stepping down at the end of this year and Maurice Galli, who most recently was a head designer at Tiffany & Co., is taking the reins.
Galli, who officially begins on Jan. 14, began his career at Winston as an apprentice when he was 15, and also had another stint at Winston later in his career. He has been at Tiffany for the last 18 years.
Shinde, now 84, came to the U.S. from his native India in 1961 and has been with Winston since that time. Under his direction, Harry Winston’s lush styles have adorned many high-profile international clients, like King Farouk of Egypt, and its pieces are a favorite among the Hollywood crowd, often finding their way onto the red carpet.
The new designer is the latest in a series of major changes that Winston has undergone in recent years. After years of management turmoil, control was resolved last December when Fenway, a private equity firm, completed its acquisition of all outstanding shares of the company. The deal left Ronald Winston, son of the founder, with a major equity stake in the company and the title of chairman.
A new president, Patricia Hambrecht, took over at that time and she has since taken steps to increase the firm’s level of service and add more jewelers to its staff, among other initiatives. This year, the company, which has estimated sales of about $100 million, for the first time hired an outside advertising firm to create its first branded ad campaign.
Aside from its Fifth Avenue flagship, Winston also operates stores in Beverly Hills, Paris, Geneva, Tokyo and Osaka.