Byline: Samantha Conti

MILAN — It certainly was a short retirement.
Seven months after quitting his job at Giorgio Armani SpA, Pino Brusone is back in the fashion game.
The former managing director and “right hand” of Armani has been named senior vice president of acquisitions and brand development for LVMH Fashion Group. He begins work on Monday, reporting to Yves Carcelle, who is president of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s Fashion Group.
“[Brusone] will bring us the benefit of experience acquired through years of working with major global brands, such as Armani. We wish him a long career with the LVMH group,” Carcelle said in a statement.
Brusone, who was sales director of Valentino before joining Armani, succeeds Thierry Andretta, who left the French group last month to become vice president of the Gucci Group.
Brusone said that the job with LVMH was “a logical next step” after working with Armani.
“This is a big, important group with a clear growth strategy in the luxury goods sector. I’m proud and delighted to be joining them.”
Brusone, who will split his time between Paris and Milan, said he will be researching acquisitions on “an international level.”
He said of his former employer: “My experience at Armani was very important; it gave me the possibility to mature professionally.” Brusone said he met the LVMH principals while working at Armani. “I met them — as well as other managers from various fashion groups we had contact with,” Brusone said.
As reported, Brusone left Armani last June after 14 years on the job. His exit was widely perceived to be an amicable one, although sources indicated that Brusone quit out of frustration. They said he and Armani repeatedly locked horns over strategy: Brusone wanted to sell to Gucci Group or LVMH and Armani was reluctant to make a move.
Some sources even said that Brusone was getting a little too cozy with fashion executives at LVMH — and that Armani might have been feeling some pressure to sell. At the time of Brusone’s resignation, however, LVMH denied that the manager was planning to join the company.
Brusone hasn’t even started at LVMH, but already it’s unclear how long he’ll stay in his current position. As reported, industry speculation has placed him on top of a short list of possible successors to John Idol as chief executive officer of Donna Karan — which LVMH plans to purchase. Idol has continued in his position since the announcement of the LVMH proposal and has indicated that he plans to stay at the firm.
During his tenure at Armani, Brusone helped turn the company into one of Italy’s most profitable businesses, working in a variety of divisions. He joined the company shortly after the death of Sergio Galeotti, Armani’s business partner and the man who pushed Armani to open the fashion house.
Brusone pulled Simint, Armani’s jeans manufacturer, from the brink of bankruptcy and transformed it into a flourishing company that reported sales of $97.2 million and pretax profits of $20 million in the first six months of the 2000-2001 fiscal year. (All figures are translated from lire at current exchange rates.)
He built up Armani’s licensing business to include fragrances, eyewear and watches. He also dismantled a number of clothing licenses and, in tune with company strategy, began taking production in-house. He helped set up Armani’s luxury leather accessories division and brokered the deal to buy factories from Armani’s longtime licensee, GFT Net, in order to take production of the Armani Collezioni men’s line in-house.
Brusone also helped build a worldwide network of freestanding Giorgio Armani, Armani Collezioni, Emporio Armani and A|X Armani Exchange stores and helped plan the major retail complex on Milan’s Via Manzoni that houses Emporio Armani, Armani Jeans and the Armani Casa line.

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