Ralph Toledano joins Victoria Beckham as Chairman
In a surprise move, Victoria Beckham has named fashion industry veteran Ralph Toledano as Chairman, effective immediately.
The company said he “brings his vast knowledge of the fashion industry and business expertise to Victoria Beckham, where he will work closely with the team to nurture the creative vision at the heart of the brand while preparing the business for its next growth cycle.”
The move follows the £30 million investment from NEO Investment Partners that was revealed in December and underlines the focus its owners are putting behind the Beckham brand, with Toledano undeniably being one of the key names on the international roster of luxury fashion execs.
And one of his first tasks will be working to get the company back in the black. On announcing his new role, the firm said that “together with strategic geographical expansion and realisation of the company's direct-to-consumer ambitions, [its] strategy will involve a rationalisation of costs in order to return the company to profitability.”
In terms of other global luxury brands, Beckham is still relatively small scale. It retails through 400 stockists and in more than 50 countries including in Asia, a key area for the company. But with global revenues for the year ending December 2016 (the latest year for which figures are available) of just £36 million, it’s dwarfed by many of its luxury peers. Even with 2017 revenues expected to have been up in double-digits, it still has massive growth potential.
And the presence of Victoria Beckham herself - plus her very photogenic family - is key to this. Her NYFW shows may be overshadowed in revenue terms by many other labels, but she consistently comes at the top of the list of social media engagement for fashion weeks, and her shows are must-see events for many consumers.
Toledano said: "I was fascinated to meet with Victoria - an artist, designer and entrepreneur who remains driven in her ambition for her brand. She is at the forefront of the shifting, increasingly digital, fashion landscape and having established her brand vision over the past decade, is now uniquely positioned to communicate this vision directly to her consumer. I am thrilled to be partnering with her to build the company into a modern luxury group.”
Beckham meanwhile said he “brings unrivalled industry experience to the company. I am excited to have such an esteemed partner with me as we move into the next chapter.”
Toledano has worked with many of the big names of fashion. He is the president of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, and was president of Puig's fashion division. He has also served as the CEO of Chloé where he appointed Phoebe Philo as Creative Director. He is also credited with the reinvigoration of the Guy Laroche label with his appointment of Alber Elbaz as Creative Director.
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