Balmain appoints Jean-Jacques Guével as new CEO
Balmain has already found the successor to Massimo Piombini. The Italian manager stepped down from his role as CEO with immediate effect at the beginning of December, and the Parisian label’s majority shareholder, Qatari investment fund Mayhoola, has picked French executive Jean-Jacques Guével, currently CEO of Zadig & Voltaire, to replace him.
Before taking charge of the French affordable luxury label in 2017, Guével cut his fashion teeth and started his business career at LVMH, first at Vuitton, from 1995 to 2001, then becoming the retail director of S.T. Dupont for a few years. He joined Céline in 2004, and was in charge of its international business for nearly 10 years. Subsequently, he was promoted to the role of director of development for the LVMH group's fashion division.
Guével, 52, was appointed CEO of Zadig & Voltaire in 2017, with the task of overseeing an ambitious expansion plan, notably in the USA. His retail expertise - Zadig & Voltaire now has over 120 branches and 420 stores worldwide - could prove to be a winner for Balmain, which recently presented a new store concept that is set to be deployed internationally.
Guével will start in his new role at Balmain next February.
“Like everyone else in the fashion world, I have been impressed with the remarkable growth of Balmain over the past few years,” said Guével as his appointment was announced.
He also expressed his admiration for the creative brain behind Balmain’s collections: “Since the day that he stepped into the role of Creative Director, Olivier Rousteing has managed to build upon the unique heritage and savoir-faire of the 75-year-old house - while, at the same time, always knowing how to best respond to the needs and desires of the new and diverse generation that he is a part of. I’m looking forward to working closely with him and the rest of the Balmain team, as we build upon that unique vision to fully realize Balmain’s outstanding potential for future growth."
In 2018, Balmain generated a revenue of €185 million, notably driven by online sales, which accounted for 30% of the total. The label is keen to step up the pace of its retail expansion. Balmain currently operates 19 directly owned stores, but the forecast is to increase this number to between 30 and 40 worldwide in two to three years, according to Massimo Piombini, who gave a press conference last October outlining the label’s strategies.
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