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Lanvin Group Replaces Joann Cheng With New CEO

The share price of the group, which has seen frequent turnover in executives and creative talent, has fallen by 68 percent from its debut.
Lanvin Group outgoing chairman and ceo Joann Cheng.
Lanvin Group outgoing chairman and CEO Joann Cheng. (Stuart C. Wilson)
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Joann Cheng, the chairman and CEO of Lanvin Group, the Chinese luxury firm that owns Lanvin, Wolford and Sergio Rossi, is stepping down. She will be succeeded in the CEO role by Eric Chan, a senior executive at a subsidiary of Lanvin-parent Fosun Group. Huang Zhen, another Fosun Group director, will take over as chairman.

Despite its ambitions to grow into a luxury powerhouse, Lanvin Group has failed to win over investors. It went public on the New York Stock Exchange in December of last year via SPAC, a process in which investors pile money into a blank-cheque company and later look for a target company to merge with. However, some 97 percent of shares in the SPAC were redeemed once Lanvin Group was identified as its merger target, meaning investors overwhelmingly asked for their funds to be returned and did not view Lanvin Group to be a good investment.

The company has been stymied by frequent leadership changes on both the executive and creative side. This year alone, the group changed its chief financial officer and co-chief operating officer, as well as the designers at Lanvin and Wolford and the CEO of Sergio Rossi. That instability, combined with macro issues like continued sluggish luxury demand in China, has seen the company’s share price sink 68 percent over the last 12 months. Since November, Lanvin Group shares have traded at around $3 apiece compared to a $10 debut.

In August, the company reported first-half revenue of €215 million ($231 million), a 6.4 percent increase over the same time a year ago. It remains unprofitable.

It sought to put a positive spin on the its chief executive’s sudden departure Friday. In a statement, Cheng highlighted the appointment of a new CEO at Sergio Rossi and teased the imminent appointment of a fresh creative director at Lanvin as positive developments for the group.

“I am pleased to be stepping away from the group, with a clear creative direction set, and all the building blocks in place for the next phase of growth,” Cheng said Friday.

Chan, the incoming CEO, joined Fosun in 2018 and is currently co-chairman of its subsidiary Greater Yuyuan Commercial Development Group. He previously held roles at Secoo Group, a Beijing-headquartered luxury lifestyle e-commerce platform, Hong Kong developers K11 Concepts and Wharf Group and real estate broker CBRE among others.

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