Bottega Veneta Names ex-Hugo Boss Chief Lahrs as New CEO

  • Kering brand picks Lahrs, 53, to replace Carlo Beretta
  • Bottega’s sales have been weighed down by slowing tourism

Former Hugo Boss chief Claus-Dietrich Lahrs was appointed as the new head of Kering SA’s Bottega Veneta brand, taking on the task of reviving sales at the Italian luxury label.

Lahrs, who left Hugo Boss in February after more than seven years with the German clothier, will start Oct. 4, Kering said in a statement Thursday after European markets closed. He replaces Carlo Beretta, who held the post since October 2014 and will become Kering’s chief client and marketing officer.

Lahrs, 53, departed Hugo Boss after his expansion plan led to a series of profit warnings and a 50 percent plunge in the shares. At Bottega Veneta, which generates about one-fifth of Kering’s earnings, he faces a challenge to revive sales that have been weighed down by slowing tourism arrivals in Europe. The label’s comparable sales fell 9.8 percent in the most recent quarter.

“Despite his rather unfortunate exit from Hugo Boss in less positive circumstances, Lahrs does have a strong track record of managing high-end luxury brands,” said Zuzanna Pusz, an analyst at Berenberg. “Given the immediate need to act at Bottega Veneta, I think the appointment is likely to be taken well, showing that Kering is acting quickly to resolve the issues, rather than waiting for the situation to get worse.”

It’s the latest bout of management turnover in the beleaguered fashion industry, following Burberry Group Plc’s move to hand the CEO role to Marco Gobbetti and allow Christopher Bailey to steer the creative side. Ralph Lauren Corp. has hired Coach Inc.’s finance chief, while Gianni Versace SpA has also replaced its CEO, tapping Jonathan Akeroyd from Kering’s Alexander McQueen. The sector is grappling with other changes, with Burberry and other labels moving to make catwalk fashions available immediately for smartphone-toting customers.

Kering fell 1.2 percent to 177.40 euros Thursday in Paris.

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