Recently-exited Gucci president, chairman and chief executive Patrizio di Marco, is one of the fashion industry’s most respected and congenial executives. Fittingly, Di Marco, the Italian-born son of a policeman, believes his “whole career has been based on either starting something from scratch, or fixing things." An impressive statement when past employers include Prada, Céline, Louis Vuitton and Bottega Veneta.
Following his appointment as CEO of Gucci in 2009, di Marco astutely identified the risk to Gucci’s brand and profitability from its increasing exposure. Consequently, the hallmarks of his time at Gucci will be the gradual minimisation of the house’s interlocking double G logo, a reduction in Gucci’s product range, and the reintroduction of classic house styles in high cost and highly lucrative materials.
Prior to his appointment at Gucci, di Marco was chief executive of Bottega Veneta. Di Marco’s approach to the house, which was beset with brand identity and financial problems, was to run it as “a start-up. I drew from my experiences — the innovation and passion that made Prada what it is today and the structure and financial discipline I learned at Louis Vuitton.”
Integral to his strategy was the appointment of Thomas Maier. Di Marco’s awareness that Maier’s elegant and refined aesthetic would correspond with the values and, more importantly, the potential customers of one of fashion’s most discreet brands, demonstrates his understanding and sensitivity to the nuances of luxury consumer behaviour patterns. Di Marco’s stewardship of Bottega Venta saw profit increase ten-fold, making Bottega Veneta second only to Gucci in profitability within Kering’s fashion portfolio.
Di Marco began his career at textile company GFT in Japan, before serving in a variety of senior roles at Prada Japan, Ltd. He was appointed chairman and chief executive of Prada America, Corp in 1994. From 1999, di Marco served as the chairman and chief executive of Celine, a role he held until he became senior vice president of marketing and communications at Louis Vuitton Americas.
Di Marco is in a relationship with Gucci’s outgoing creative director Frida Giannini, who will step down in February. The couple have a daughter together.