LVMH: DKI WILL STAY HERE

Byline: Eric Wilson

NEW YORK — Donna Karan is not ready to pack her bags just yet.
Contrary to wire reports that senior executives at LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton were looking to move the headquarters of its latest acquisition to Paris or Milan, Pino Brusone, senior vice president of acquisitions and brand development for LVMH Fashion Group, said Tuesday that Donna Karan International Inc.’s headquarters “would definitely stay in New York.”
John Idol, chief executive officer of DKI, also refuted the report, saying: “I can speak on behalf on both Donna Karan International and LVMH in saying that the company is not moving its headquarters outside of New York, and LVMH wants to keep it that way.”
Brusone was quoted in the Tuesday edition of the Italian paper Il Sole 24 Ore as indicating that LVMH’s plans for DKI included the acquisition of Italian factories to produce more of Karan’s collection there, as well as moving the company’s headquarters to Europe, in an interview that was picked up by various wire services. The report raised several eyebrows at DKI’s New York headquarters, considering the designers’ long-standing emphasis of the city’s imagery and lifestyles in her collections and labels, particularly in DKNY.
Brusone later told WWD that the report was exaggerated. Idol clarified that DKI is investigating opportunities for additional manufacturing capacity related to its luxury leather handbag and footwear business under the Donna Karan label.
“We’re also looking to expand our office in Italy and to strengthen that over the coming months, as we look to grow the luxury side of our business,” Idol said.
Brusone, who joined LVMH in January, has been cited as a potential successor to Idol in the event of his resignation from the firm following the LVMH acquisition, but he is also widely believed to wish to remain based in Europe. One scenario discussed among those familiar with developments at the firm is that Brusone could take the top spot at DKI and remain in Europe, while LVMH would also name a senior executive to oversee its headquarters in New York, reporting to him.

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