Bonton founders Irène and Thomas Cohen step down
Bonton and founders Irène and Thomas Cohen have finally parted ways. The Parisian childrenswear brand's founding duo have stepped away from the company a little over a year and a half after they sold a majority share in its capital to Xavier Marie, owner of Paule Ka, Le Petit Souk and Rautureau, as well as recent co-buyer of Eric Bompard.
17 years after it was founded and at a time when the Bonton concept has been expanded globally through some fifteen stores in France, Japan, the US, the UK and Spain, Irène and Thomas Cohen have handed the company over to new managers. The transition, which started last year, has been progressive, allowing the couple to work alongside their successors.
As well as the new owner, Xavier Marie, and his wife, Julie Brisson, who are directly involved in the running of Bonton, two new faces also arrived at the brand last year.
Irène Cohen will be succeeded as creative director by Mariu de Andreis, who has been working with Cohen in the design office since Bonton's acquisition by Xavier Marie and will henceforth be solely responsable for the company's creative direction. Having founded the brand Zef in 2003, the designer immediately found a place for her label at Bonton and has been associated with the company ever since. The Zef brand has been on hold since 2016, meaning that Andreis can focus her attention on Bonton's baby, childrenswear and homeware collections, which are also distributed through around 100 fashion retailers and concept stores.
As for Thomas Cohen, he will be succeeded as CEO by Vanessa Bonnefoux, who arrived at the company in June of last year. The new CEO is no stranger to Bonton and its founders, as she was previously head of finance and development at Bonpoint and Merci, brands founded by Thomas Cohen's parents, but also, more recently, at Officine Générale and... Mariu de Andreis' Zef.
In recent years, she has regularly participated as a consultant in fundraising and sales operations at Bonton, Merci, Officine Générale and, in 2016, Bonton. From now though, she will take full control of the company's management as CEO and CFO, executing a business plan developed with Xavier Marie and Julie Brisson.
It's the end of an era for Bonton which has been sitting on some big ambitions for the last few years, ambitions which have only grown with the arrival of Xavier Marie. While continuing to develop its retail network, the company is also preparing to consolidate its brand universe and its influences, working both on its own collections and on collaborations, such as its recently unveiled partnership with Sézane.
As for the future projects of Irène and Thomas Cohen, who will remain associated to Bonton as minority shareholders through the family holding company, the couple have only said that they are heading towards new adventures.
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