Lanvin MD resigns after strategy disagreement

PARIS - Thierry Andretta abruptly left Lanvin as managing director this week after failing to agree on the French brand's growth strategy with its controlling shareholder, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

His departure marks the second time in four years the brand has lost its managing director over strategic issues.

Lanvin said in a statement Andretta had resigned for personal reasons but declined to elaborate.

Thierry Andretta

Lanvin's controlling shareholder, Taiwanese media magnate Shaw-Lan Wang, was not available for comment.

One of the sources said Andretta had failed to agree with Wang over the company's future development and had handed in his resignation after the company's board meeting on Monday, held to approve the group's annual results.

A second source confirmed Andretta's departure on Monday over strategic differences, saying the issues had been brewing for several months.

"This is a difficult job," the second source added, referring to Andretta's position.

Prior to Andretta, Lanvin was headed by Paul Deneve, who left the company in 2008 citing strategic differences and who is now chief executive of Yves Saint Laurent, owned by PPR. The group plans to change its name to Kering in June.

Andretta's departure comes as global sales growth in the luxury market is forecast to slow this year after enjoying a strong rebound since the financial turmoil of 2008.

Consultancy Bain & Co has forecast sales growth for the global luxury market of between 4 and 6 percent between 2013 and 2015, after growth of 5 percent last year and 13 percent in 2011, measured at constant exchange rates.

Lanvin, which runs 38 boutiques worldwide, has been investing in opening shops using its own cash and planned to continue doing so, Andretta told Reuters in an interview on February 13.

Founded in 1889, Lanvin, known for its audaciously-cut silk evening dresses adorned with chunky jewels, has been one of France's fastest-growing fashion brands.

Under Andretta's four-year stewardship, Lanvin's sales nearly doubled to 236 million euros (201 million pounds) and now yields operating margins of between 10 and 12 percent.

The luxury executive ran Celine at LVMH in the late 1990s and spent several years at Gucci Group, the old name of PPR's luxury arm, before joining Lanvin in January 2009.

Lanvin Finance Director Michele Huiban will manage the business until a replacement for Andretta is found.

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