LONDON, United Kingdom — Claus-Dietrich Lahrs has been appointed chief executive officer at Kering-owned Bottega Veneta, effective 4 October. In his new role at the Italian luxury goods brand, Lahrs succeeds Carlo Alberto Beretta, who has been promoted to chief client and marketing officer at Kering.
“[Lahrs'] outstanding experience and extensive knowledge of the luxury market will be crucial in the management of the exceptional maison that Bottega Veneta is,” said François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of Kering in a statement, adding that Lahrs would help Bottega Veneta to “accelerate its development.” Lahrs will report directly to Pinault and join Kering’s executive committee.
In turn, Carlo Alberto Beretta will hold the newly created position of chief client & marketing officer of the group, with the goal of building a comprehensive, measurable and profitable customer culture for each Kering brand. “I wanted to give our maisons exceptional support and expertise in what is their main challenge in the years to come: the ability to meet their customers’ needs and fulfil their desires," said Pinault. He will report directly to Pinault and will remain a member of Kering’s executive committee.
Lahrs stepped down as chief executive officer of Hugo Boss in February after eight years at the company. Prior to Hugo Boss, Lahrs held senior positions at luxury brands including Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior Couture.
After Gucci, Bottega Veneta is the second-largest luxury brand in the Kering portfolio. But after years of double-digit growth, propelled by creative director Tomas Maier’s discreet “stealth luxury” products, its fortunes have waned.
Hurt by factors like softening demand among Chinese consumers and a drop in tourism, last year, the Italian brand’s growth slowed to 3.2 percent on a constant exchange basis, earning €1.286 billion ($1.44 billion) in revenue. The decline continued into the first quarter of 2016, when the brand reported turnover of €268 million ($300.6 million), down 8.3 percent year-on-year.
Bottega Veneta is also heavily dependent on leather goods — in 2015, the category drove 88 percent of the company’s revenues. “The next evolution will be in ready-to-wear,” then-CEO Beretta told BoF in May. “We are putting into place the new atelier for ready-to-wear with exactly the same approach that we had with shoes — creating a business unit for ready-to-wear with a devoted team and strong expertise. This is a creative evolution for the brand, from a leather goods driven business to a multi-category lifestyle approach.”