PARIS — As it races to hit a target of 2 billion euros in sales this year, Puig is shaking up its upper management ranks.
The Spanish company on Tuesday promoted José Manuel Albesa to steer its fashion houses Carolina Herrera, Nina Ricci, Paco Rabanne and Jean Paul Gaultier. The executive adds the responsibility to his current role as chief brand officer at family-owned Puig.
The development was precipitated by the resignation of Ralph Toledano, who joined as president of Puig fashion five years ago.
Reached by WWD, Toledano said he quietly wrapped up his tenure at the end of January and would take a short break before taking up a new role in September. He declined to elaborate on his next move, saying only that, “It’s a totally different activity, and I’m delighted with the idea of starting a new career.”
“We would like to thank Ralph for his dedication during the past five years, and wish him the very best for the future,” Puig said.
The company characterized the nomination of Albesa as reinforcing the cohesiveness of its long-term brand-building strategy. With his new role, Albesa adds three fashion labels to his already wide-reaching purview spanning the company’s fragrance holdings, both owned and licensed, plus Paco Rabanne fashion. The move signals that more synergies will be implemented between Puig’s fashion and perfume activities than in the past, when they were kept largely separate.
In the new company structure, effective April 3, Ana Trias, brand vice president of Carolina Herrera and Nina Ricci, and Vincent Thilloy, brand vice president of Paco Rabanne and Jean Paul Gaultier, will report to Albesa.
Under Trias and Thilloy are three newly hired executives. Bastien Daguzan has been appointed general manager of Paco Rabanne Fashion, succeeding Anouck Durnateau-Loeper, who left for Isabel Marant. Since October 2013, he was chief executive officer of Lemaire, and prior to that, Daguzan was sales and development director of Kris Van Assche.
Sophie Templier is to become general manager of Nina Ricci Fashion. She started at Puig in 2014 as accessories manager at the label, after working at Sonia Rykiel as general product manager.
As reported, Emilie Rubinfeld has been named president of Carolina Herrera, after having joined the brand in 2012 as vice president of global marketing and communications. Subsequently, she became its chief marketing officer.
Sophie Waintraub, meanwhile, is to remain general manager of Jean Paul Gaultier Fashion.
Puig, which specializes in building fragrance brands — such as Valentino, Prada, Nina Ricci and Jean Paul Gaultier — through creative storytelling, generates the lion’s share of its business from perfumes.
Puig did not break out the sales generated from fashion in 2015 — the most recent year for which financial figures are available — although industry sources estimate they reached 180 million euros, or $199.7 million, representing almost 11 percent of the 1.65 billion euros, or $1.83 billion, it registered overall.
That year, Puig sales were up 9 percent in reported terms and 2 percent on a like-for-like basis. Company net profit fell 28 percent in 2015 to 126 million euros, or $139.8 million, dented by expenses related to the integration of the Jean Paul Gaultier perfume business and investments in its other brands.
Puig, which became the majority shareholder of Gaultier’s fashion house in 2011, began incorporating the brand’s fragrance business on Jan. 1, 2016. That had formerly been run by Shiseido’s Beauté Prestige International arm through a license originally set to end in June 2016. Early compensation and IP rights were valued at 69 million euros, or $76.5 million.
Marc Puig, ceo of Puig, told WWD at the time the numbers were released in April 2016 that he recognized the company’s growth had stalled over the past two years, but emphasized that was foreseen as part of the strategy put in place to attain the revenue goal.
Puig has in the past few years invested in steadily growing its beauty business more than in its fashion holdings. Nina Ricci and Paco Rabanne have just one freestanding boutique each.
Most recently, Puig said in January it had signed a joint venture agreement with Luxasia, a prestige omnichannel beauty distribution and retail company in Asia. In September 2016, it took a minority stake in Brazilian high-end beauty maker and retailer Granado.
In 2015, Puig bolstered its presence in the niche fragrance category by acquiring Penhaligon’s and L’Artisan Parfumeur.
Toledano’s departure comes at a period of turmoil in fashion and luxury’s senior management ranks.
Ralph Lauren said last month that president and ceo Stefan Larsson will leave the company on May 1. Meanwhile, Tiffany & Co. pushed out ceo Frédéric Cumenal because of “disappointing” financial results.
Kering this month named Fabrizio Malverdi ceo of Brioni, the latest in a string of management changes at the French group, which in the last year has appointed new ceo’s at Balenciaga, Christopher Kane, Bottega Veneta and Alexander McQueen.
A well-respected executive, Toledano is known for his close ties to retailers, and for a strong product orientation.
He has had a storied career with top fashion brands, holding the post of chairman and ceo at Chloé from 1999 to 2010, at a time when the label’s artistic directors included Phoebe Philo, Paulo Melim Andersson and Hannah MacGibbon. Prior to that, Toledano was ceo of Guy Laroche, where he discovered Alber Elbaz, and earlier was ceo of Karl Lagerfeld SA.
Born in Casablanca, Morocco, 65 years ago, Toledano started his career at Lanvin and also worked at Yves Saint Laurent accessories.
When he joined Puig in 2012, initially to lead development at Jean Paul Gaultier, the hire was seen as reflecting the company’s ambition to become a bigger and more formidable player on the international fashion scene.
Toledano told WWD in an interview in July 2014 that Marc and Manuel Puig, the firm’s vice chairman, “mentioned that one day they would like fashion to represent more than 50 percent of the business.”
Plans to grow Gaultier’s ready-to-wear business did not pan out, with the designer shuttering the division in September 2014 to focus on haute couture and fragrances.
Carolina Herrera, meanwhile, has gone through a very public period of turmoil, culminating in the departure of ceo François Kress in January. Rubinfeld was subsequently named president of the company.
Kress and the firm had been in the news because of a lawsuit, settled early this year, between Carolina Herrera Ltd. and Oscar de la Renta over a non-compete agreement with designer Laura Kim. Through the suit filings, details of company plans to potentially transition out Herrera as head designer were made public.
Toledano said he was staying on as president of the Fédération Française de la Couture, du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode, a post he has held since 2014, when he succeeded Didier Grumbach.
The executive holds several French government honors. Toledano was made a Knight of the Legion of Honor, France’s highest civilian decoration, in 2003 and an Officer of the National Order of Merit in 2014.