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Gian Giacomo Ferraris

Chief Executive Officer, Roberto Cavalli

Credited with returning Versace to profitability within two years, the fashion executive turned his experienced eye to Roberto Cavalli.


With stints at Gucci, Prada and Jil Sander , the esteemed fashion executive exited his role as Versace’s chief executive after seven years to join Roberto Cavalli in the same capacity, as of May 2016. Credited with returning Versace to profitability within two years of being appointed, increasing revenue streams and cutting debt at the Italian fashion house, Ferraris strategic and transformative business savvy makes him a highly sought after leader in the luxury market.

Ferraris was originally a high school teacher, and proceeded to work at the Olivetti group as a process engineer. In 1987 he joined Ermenegildo Zegna, and moved to the global consulting firm Kurt Salmon two years later.

In 1994, he joined Jil Sander in Germany as chief operating officer. Ferraris launched the brand’s men’s collection in 1997. From 1999 to 2004, Ferraris was the managing director of the Gucci Group, overseeing progress at brands such as YSL, Gucci, Balenciaga, Stella McCartney , Alexander McQueen and Bottega Veneta.

In 2004 he returned to Jil Sander as chief executive for five years, where he led significant restructuring and redefined the brand’s positioning. He spearheaded key changes such as delisting the brand from the German Stock Exchange, reorganising operations by bringing them in-house and transitioning Jil Sander from loss to profit.

Ferraris was one of the first executives to experiment with a "see now, buy now" retail strategy for the Versus for Versace brand. The move led to profits of 37 million euros in 2015, a triple digit growth since the change in strategy in 2013.

At Roberto Cavalli, Ferraris succeeds Renato Semerari. He has joined Cavalli’s other recent recruit Peter Dundas , who was tapped as creative director in early 2015. Ferraris’ transition to Cavalli has been said to spearhead the design house’s relaunch and development plans, tapping into Ferraris knowledge of cost-cutting measures and shifting consumption habits in the market.

In May 2017, Ferraris appointed Paul Surridge as Cavalli's new creative director, but his tenure was slow to heat up, sales fell and he resigned late March 2019. Roberto Cavalli announced soon after that it would be liquidating its US operations and closing all North American stores. By early April 2019, the company also filed for bankruptcy protection in Italy.

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What is The BoF 500?

The people shaping the global fashion industry, curated by the editors of The Business of Fashion, based on nominations and on-the-ground intelligence from around the world.