Power Moves | Krakoff to Depart Coach

Reed Krakoff | Photo: Sheila Metzner

NEW YORK, United States — After more than 16 years as president and executive creative director of US accessories brand Coach, Reed Krakoff has announced that he will not renew his contract with the label, which is set to expire in June of 2014. The company has started the hunt for his successor.

Krakoff is said to be leaving to focus on his own high-end label of sportswear-inspired apparel and accessories, Reed Krakoff, which he and Coach launched in 2010. His highly popular Boxer bag, a practical yet youthful leather tote adorned with a knot, is available in a dizzying array of colours and textures, including his signature material, felt. In a statement, Coach revealed that it was “exploring strategic options for the Reed Krakoff brand, which may involve a sale to a group in which Mr. Krakoff would participate.”

Chairman and chief executive of Coach Lew Frankfort said in a statement: “His contribution in evolving Coach from a house of American leather goods to a leading international accessories brand is immeasurable and we have great admiration and respect for Reed’s significant accomplishments.”

After joining Coach in 1996, Krakoff played a significant role in transforming the brand, then a reliable if somewhat staid staple, into a global accessories company known for boldly hued bags and leather goods. An architecture buff married to an interior decorator, he also brought his design-driven sensibility to Coach’s retail stores.

His departure comes on the heels of positive third quarter results for Coach, which showed growth of 7 percent, from $1.1 billion for the same period last year to $1.19 billion for the quarter ended March 30, 2013. Net income grew 6 percent from $225 million to $239 million. Sales were buoyed by robust international growth, particularly in China, where same-store sales reached double-digit growth.

As competition in the affordable luxury space grows, notably from labels like Michael Kors and Tory Burch, Coach may well be looking for fresh creative blood to inject new energy into the brand and help the company further its transformation into a global lifestyle brand, anchored in accessories.