[What is your opinion? Link to our discussion board]
Amsterdam, The Netherlands, April 21, 2004: Gucci Group N.V. (Euronext Amsterdam: GCCI.AS; NYSE: GUC) today announces the nomination by the Supervisory Board of Robert Polet as President and Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Management Board of the world’s third-largest luxury group.
Mr. Polet succeeds Domenico De Sole, who is leaving the company on April 30. Mr. Polet’s appointment will be confirmed at a shareholders’ meeting to be scheduled in the coming weeks. Mr. Polet will also become a member of the Management Board of Pinault Printemps Redoute, Gucci’s majority shareholder.
A 48-year-old Dutch national, Mr. Polet joins Gucci Group after a 26-year career at Unilever. In his latest position, Mr. Polet was President of Unilever’s Worldwide Ice Cream and Frozen Foods division, a $7.8 billion business consisting of over 40 operating companies. During his more than three years at the helm of the division, profit margins increased by 70%. Prior to that position, Mr. Polet worked in a variety of executive positions within Unilever, including chairman of Unilever Malaysia, chairman of Van den Bergh’s and executive vice president of Unilever’s European Home and Personal Care division.
Adrian Bellamy, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Gucci Group N.V., said: “We warmly welcome Robert Polet as our new President and Chief Executive Officer and wish him every success in his new position. He brings considerable global experience and a deep knowledge of consumer brands to his role. On behalf of my colleagues on the Supervisory Board, I would also like to express special appreciation to Domenico De Sole and Tom Ford and all our people in the Gucci Group, for their extraordinary contribution over many years.”
Serge Weinberg, Chairman of the Management Board of Pinault Printemps Redoute and Chairman of the Committee designated by Gucci Group’s Supervisory Board to search for the new Chief Executive, declared: “We are thrilled about Robert’s appointment. His international background, his broad experience in developing brands, his entrepreneurial and managerial talents and his ability to be both a leader and team player make him an ideal choice to run Gucci Group.”
“This is a new era for Gucci Group. I’d like to thank Domenico de Sole for the outstanding job he has done, together with Tom Ford, to make Gucci Group the extraordinarily successful company that it is today. Domenico has a worthy successor in Robert Polet. Working with the strong management teams and talented designers that are in place in each of Gucci Group’s brands, Robert will keep on building the best luxury group in the world.”
Robert Polet declared: “I’m very honoured and excited to have been named to run Gucci Group. The different brands within Gucci Group are iconic names in the world of fashion and luxury goods. I consider it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be entrusted with their development. It’s a great challenge to succeed Domenico De Sole, and I’m greatly looking forward to working with the wonderfully talented people of Gucci Group to write a new chapter in its brilliant story.”
Gucci Group N.V. is one of the world’s leading multi-brand luxury goods companies. Through the Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Sergio Rossi, Boucheron, Roger & Gallet, Bottega Veneta, Bédat & Co., Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Balenciaga brands, the Group designs, produces and distributes high-quality personal luxury goods, including ready-to-wear, handbags, luggage, small leather goods, shoes, timepieces, jewelry, ties and scarves, eyewear, perfume, cosmetics and skincare products. The Group directly operates stores in major markets throughout the world and wholesales products through franchise stores, duty-free boutiques and leading department and specialty stores. The shares of Gucci Group N.V. are listed on the New York Stock Exchange and on the Euronext Amsterdam Stock Exchange.
-Timothy Hagy, contributing editor