NEW HANDWRITING: Smythson has named its first design director. Rory O’Hanlon, who was most recently divisional vice president, women’s leather goods at Coach in New York, took up the newly created role earlier this month. He reports to Smythson’s chief executive officer Andy Janowski and is responsible for all products at the brand, which specializes in leather goods and stationery. “We searched for a year and he was our number-one choice,” said Janowski, adding that the “purity and simplicity” of O’Hanlon’s design aesthetic fits the brand well.

Janowski said Samantha Cameron, Britain’s First Lady, who works two days a week as a creative consultant, would remain in her role. “She will continue to support me in raising global awareness of Smythson, will focus on Smythson’s 125-year heritage and how we communicate that and on the brand image and awareness. She’s a brand ambassador.”

This story first appeared in the September 26, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

O’Hanlon, who has spent his career working for brands including Celine, Jil Sander, Burberry and Gucci, said the plan is to build up Smythson’s large leather goods category, which includes men’s accessories.

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