NEW YORK — Less than a week after Caryn A. Lerner exited as one of the co-presidents of Escada’s U.S. division, the company named Lawrence C. DeParis president and chief operating officer of Escada USA.
His appointment comes at a time when the German company is analyzing its overall business practices, following a difficult period for the brand. All operations are being given the once-over to try to find potential cost-cutting measures.
In a statement, founder, chairman and chief executive Wolfgang Ley praised DeParis for being “able to make tough decisions.” Ley also said, “We have selected Larry to take Escada forward at this critical juncture because…he shares our vision of a seamlessly integrated international luxury brand committed to outstanding service.”
DeParis, 46, continues to be based at Escada USA’s offices here and reports to Ley. DeParis joined the company in 1986 and held several senior executive positions until he left in 1997 to serve as senior vice president and chief financial officer of Calvin Klein. He rejoined Escada a year later as co-president and chief operating officer and a member of the board.
Prior to Friday’s announcement, industry sources said Escada USA was intent on finding a merchandising chief who would be charged with unifying the operations of the German company and its U.S. subsidiary — someone to cover a greater scope than Lerner, as reported.
This year, the Munich-based designer label said it would not reach its profit targets for 2003. Last year, the company posted $840.6 million in sales, down from $977.4 million in 2001. Escada chalked up its soft performance in recent seasons to repercussions from the war in Iraq, political tension in North Korea and SARS, noting that Asia had been one of its major markets.