In his role as women's and men's shoes and leather goods division director at Salvatore Ferragamo, James Ferragamo is helping to lead the Italian family-owned company into its third generation of global success, following in the footsteps of his father and company chief executive, Ferruccio, and his grandfather Salvatore, who found the eponymous Italian brand in 1928.
Born in Florence, Ferragamo's interaction with his grandfather's business started from an early age. Since age 10, he would occasionally visit the factory to make pairs of shoes with his grandmother.
Ferragamo studied in England, before heading to New York, where he completed both his undergraduate degree in marketing and international business, and his masters degree in finance, accounting and international business, from New York University Stern School of Business. During his holidays, Ferragamo worked as a sales assistant at the Ferragamo boutique in Los Angeles.
Before obtaining his MBA in 1997, Ferragamo had a brief stint in finance firm Goldman Sachs. The following year, he was expected to enter the family business, joining his father Ferruccio, the company's president and chairman. As only three family members were permitted to work at the company at one time, the positions within the company were very competitive.
At age 27, he entered the business as the first member of the third-generation becoming the women's leather product director, aiming to bring a youthful energy to the brand and is tipped to lead the family's third generation into senior management.