POLO NAMES SCHWARTZ: Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. tapped Aaron Schwartz to head Polo Ralph Lauren Footwear, effective April 3. Schwartz, who will report to executive vice president Jacki Nemerov, was most recently global president and chief executive officer of Bruno Magli, based in Bologna, Italy, and before that, vice president and divisional merchandise manager of women’s shoes at Federated Department Stores. Prior to that, he held several accessory merchandising roles at Ann Taylor. At Polo, he will oversee all efforts for Ralph Lauren Footwear, and work with Tom Terry, senior vice president of footwear sales, and Marco Marin, vice president of Collection footwear sales, who will both report to New York-based Schwartz. “We bought back our footwear license earlier this year, making footwear a key component of our broader initiative of building a global luxury accessories business,” Nemerov said in a statement.

NIKE SOCCER SITE: Nike teamed with Google on Monday to launch a soccer Web site at joga.com. The site is designed to be a global online community where users view profiles of players, post their own photos and chat with other visitors. The site may be viewed in 14 languages and is accessible by invitation only. Joga, which means “play” in Portuguese, is part of a push by Nike to expand its footprint in soccer. The company has launched a fashion collection this spring inspired by the World Cup and also has been building its performance soccer business with a wider range of apparel and equipment.

EMERGENCY DIET: Bad news continues to pile up at ST Dupont. The troubled French high-end pen and lighter firm said it would slash 190 to 205 jobs as part of a five-year restructuring plan to get back on its feet. The group, which employs about 850 people, also said it would close four of its 15 boutiques, including one in London and two in Japan. ST Dupont had a first-half net loss of 31.5 million euros, or $37.8 million at current exchange, and said it expected to lose 53 million euros, or $63.6 million, for the full year. In January, Chinese entrepreneur Dickson Poon, who is ST Dupont’s main shareholder, agreed to give the debt-laden firm 42 million euros, or $50.4 million, to keep it operational.

This story first appeared in the March 21, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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