SPECULATION ON IDOL MOVE CONTINUES

Byline: Lisa Lockwood

NEW YORK — Is John Idol, chairman and chief executive officer of Donna Karan International, plotting his next career move?
According to sources, Idol has been seen several times at the showroom of John Varvatos, the hot men’s wear designer who is backed by Nautica Enterprises.
“Somebody must have seen us at dinner last night. We’re just personal friends.” Idol said Tuesday. “At this point, I’m not focussed on anything but supporting Donna Karan and making sure we deliver our numbers.”
Harvey Sanders, Nautica’s chairman and chief executive officer, told WWD: “John Idol and John Varvatos go back to the Polo [Ralph Lauren] days….We would always talk to John [Idol], but at this point, they’re friends.” Sanders said there are “no plans” to hire Idol. “It’s hearsay at this point.”
Idol joined DKI as ceo in July 1997 from Polo, where he was group president of licensing.
Although there’s been no word on whether Idol will keep his job if the acquisition offer by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton goes through, sources said it’s unlikely he’ll remain with the company for the long term, and that he’ll most likely wait for a big payout — which could amount to $10 million plus.
Last December, LVMH signed an agreement to acquire Gabrielle Studio Inc., the privately owned licensor of the Donna Karan trademarks, for $450 million. Concurrently, LVMH submitted a cash offer to the DKI board to acquire the firm for $195 million, or $8.50 a share. A special committee of the DKI board is currently reviewing the LVMH proposal.