PARIS — Mario Grauso, president of Carolina Herrera, is about to start collecting more frequent-flier miles.

WWD has learned that Grauso, who helped steer Herrera’s expansion over the past four years, soon will apply his expertise to Puig’s other fashion concerns, Nina Ricci and Paco Rabanne. He starts officially on Monday.

Reached late Wednesday, Grauso said he plans to split his time between New York and Paris, while continuing in his present role at Herrera.

“I’m not going to replace myself immediately,” he said. “I’ll spend two weeks in New York and then a week each at Ricci and Paco.”

In his new capacity, Grauso will report to Marc and Manuel Puig, who in April became co-chief executives of the Barcelona-based fashion and beauty group. Marc Puig, who previously headed the fashion division, was traveling Wednesday and could not be reached for comment.

Grauso said he already has been quietly working with Ricci designer Lars Nilsson on advertising campaigns and merchandising. Soon he will be getting better acquainted with Rabanne designer Rosemary Rodriguez, to whom Rabanne officially passed the design baton during the Paris collections last week.

Development plans for the two firms are still being formulated, but Grauso asserted that Puig’s fashion arm is “growing into quite a successful group.”

Before joining Herrera, Grauso was U.S. president of Celine. Before that, he was a vice president at Vera Wang.

This story first appeared in the October 14, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.