TOKYO — A spokeswoman for Gucci Japan on Thursday denied as “sheer speculation by the press” a report that Toshiaki Tashiro, president of the company, is resigning from his post.
“There is no truth to such a report,” she added. The reports of Tashiro’s departure first surfaced in The Financial Times on Wednesday.
Tashiro, according to the spokeswoman, is in Basel, Switzerland, this week on a business trip for the company and is expected to return to Tokyo on Saturday. “President Tashiro is very active, working hard for Gucci,” she asserted emphatically.
Tashiro joined Gucci Japan as president in March 1997 after heading Barneys Japan, a unit of Isetan Department Stores, for many years.
Sales of Gucci-branded merchandise in Japan in the fourth quarter of 2003 increased 2.2 percent from a year earlier to $163.9 million, or 136.9 million euros, at current exchange rates. This represented a 29.3 percent share of all Gucci-branded merchandise sales in that quarter worldwide, up 5.4 percent, according to information from Gucci Japan, referring to the 2003 business report of the Gucci Division.
The fourth quarter brought Japanese sales of Gucci-branded merchandise in 2003 to $498.2 million, or 416.2 million euros, up 1.9 percent, or occupying a 27.3 percent share of global Gucci sales of $1.82 billion, or 1.52 billion euros.
The departures of Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole from Gucci Group at the end of the month have increased speculation that Tashiro will join other senior executives and leave the company. One source in Japan said Tashiro is very close to De Sole. Tashiro’s contract with Gucci Japan, or Gucci Group Japan Ltd. as it is presently called, is said to expire next month, which is another reason for the rumor of his imminent departure, some sources believe.
— Tsukasa Furukawa