MILAN — Massimo Macchi has been named chief executive officer of Gianfranco Ferré.

Macchi’s experience in the luxury goods sector, combined with his strength outside the apparel world, led to his selection for the top post by Tonino Perna, president and ceo of Ferré parent IT Holding. Perna had been ceo of Ferré since Enrico Mambelli exited the post last summer, but said he now needs someone to be fully focused on the Ferré business.

“We are currently focusing on expanding other business areas for Ferré, such as fragrances, watches and accessories,” Perna related. “An expanding brand needs visibility, new ways to communicate and new business areas,” Perna continued, adding that he is banking on Macchi’s experience as a “marketing man.”

Macchi has joined Ferré from A. Testoni, where he was the footwear company’s group director of marketing and sales. Prior to that, he was vice president of Gucci Group’s jewelry and watch division.

Macchi will get a chance to apply that experience in April, when Ferré plans to launch its first watch line under the GF Ferré label at the international Baselworld watch and jewelry exhibition in Basel, Switzerland. The line will be produced and distributed under license by Global Watch Industries, and distributed starting in May. The line will blend technology with design — and a strong color palette — Perna said. This is Ferre’s first foray into the watch business in more than 20 years, following a brief moment in the early Eighties with watches under the signature collection.

Addressing growing speculation here that Ferré is planning to launch his own couture line, Perna said it will not happen in the immediate future. “It is the designer himself who must decide,” Perna added.

This story first appeared in the February 22, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.