Frédéric Biousse joins Salvatore Ferragamo’s board
Salvatore Ferragamo has announced that two new members have joined its board of directors, one of them French businessman Frédéric Biousse. Biousse left the SMCP group (of which he had been a director and shareholder since 2007) in 2015, and later he co-founded the Experienced Capital investment fund with two other former SMCP executives, Elie Kouby and Emmanuel Pradère.
Biousse has joined the Ferragamo board together with Annalisa Loustau Elia, lately the omni-channel marketing director for French department store Le Printemps. Both have been appointed to the board as independent members, replacing top executive Marinella Soldi, who left the group in July to pursue other professional projects, and former general manager Micaela Le Divelec Lemmi, who stepped down on September 7, after Ferragamo announced the appointment of Marco Gobbetti as new CEO.
Gobbetti, currently the CEO of Burberry, will start in his new role at Ferragamo in January 2022. Awaiting his arrival, the day-to-day running of the business is in the hands of executive vice-president Michele Norsa. Italian luxury label Ferragamo is listed on the Milan stock exchange but is still owned by the eponymous founding family. It has been adversely affected by the pandemic period, and for months has been the focus of intense speculation regarding a possible sale.
Gobbetti’s arrival heralds a new scenario, suggesting an in-depth reorganisation is on the cards with a view to relaunching Salvatore Ferragamo, with a rejuvenated brand image and boosted digital strategy.
The label is currently in the midst of a transition phase, after designer Paul Andrews left too. For the latest collection, unveiled in September at Milan Fashion Week, Ferragamo called on French designer Guillaume Meilland, who had previously worked in the label's studio. But his show was not entirely convincing.
In the midst of this delicate situation, Biousse is joining Ferragamo’s board, contributing his wealth of experience in the retail and luxury sectors. He is a graduate of the Ecole Centrale in Paris, and has notably worked at Cartier, as deputy international director, and at Le Printemps, where he was head of markets. In 2003, Biousse became the CEO of Comptoir des Cotonniers, spearheading its growth in France and internationally for four years, until the fashion retailer was sold to Japanese group Fast Retailing.
In 2007, Biousse laid the foundations of SMCP alongside Elie Kouby, leading the group and growing its revenue from €7 million to €700 million. He left SMCP in 2016, when he co-founded the Experienced Capital investment fund, aiming to back affordable luxury brands with strong potential.
Experienced Capital currently owns stakes in 11 companies, from fashion labels (Le Slip Français, Balibaris, Sessun, Sœur, Figaret and Maison Standards) to beauty brands (L:A Bruket and Oh My Cream), home decoration (NV Gallery) and leisure brands (Bam Karoaké and Dynamo). Biousse has also co-founded the Les Domaines de Fontenille wine estate in Luberon, France, and is a partner in a number of hotels in France and Spain.
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